Russia considers color-coded terror threat alerts

Russia's parliament on Friday gave preliminary approval to a law creating color-coded terrorist threat alerts, a measure rushed forward in the wake of the Moscow airport bombing that left 35 dead and raised questions about the country's ability to handle attacks.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Jan 28, 2011 09:10 PM IST
Copy Link
AP | By, Moscow

Russia's parliament on Friday gave preliminary approval to a law creating color-coded terrorist threat alerts, a measure rushed forward in the wake of the Moscow airport bombing that left 35 dead and raised questions about the country's ability to handle attacks.

The proposed law is modeled on the US system instituted after 9/11, which Washington announced on Thursday it would be abandoned by the end of April and replaced with a new plan to notify specific people about specific threats. Critics had complained the general color alerts were unhelpful.

Russia's State Duma, or lower house, unanimously approved the bill Friday in the first of three required readings. Russia has not specified how its three-level codes would work. But the push to pass the legislation underlines Russia's growing anxiety about its international security image as it tries to cope with terrorist attacks blamed on Islamist insurgents from the restive Caucasus region.

The measure was on the State Duma's agenda for February, but the vote was rushed forward after the bombing at Domodedovo Airport, Russia's busiest. No claim of responsibility for the bombing has been made, and officials have not publicly identified any suspects. But, media reports say investigators are focusing on insurgents from the Caucasus region. Chechen rebels have claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks over the years, including ones against the Moscow subway system and suicide bombings of two planes that took off from Domodedovo in 2004.

The Monday afternoon explosion tore through the meeting area for international arrivals at Domodedovo. Some 180 people were injured, 129 of whom remained hospitalized Friday, according to the Health Ministry.

Authorities have not released an account of how the bombing took place, and media accounts have cited various sources as saying it was a male suicide bomber or a female, or that the bomb was remotely detonated.

The Interfax news agency on Friday cited an unidentified law enforcement source as saying that surveillance video showed an unaccompanied male suspected suicide bomber, clad in a black jacket and baseball cap, standing in the area for about 15 minutes before the blast.

Some media have shown photos of a severed head believed to be that of the bomber and say the head has been sent to a forensic laboratory for DNA analysis.

After the blast, suspicion initially fell on Chechen insurgents who have fought Russian forces since 1994 and who have claimed responsibility for an array of previous attacks, including last year's double suicide bombing of Moscow subways that killed 40 people. However, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said preliminary evidence showed no connection with Chechnya.

In recent years, the Islamic insurgency that started in Chechnya has spread to adjacent parts of the Russian Caucasus, notably to Dagestan, where shootings, bombings and police operations against rebels occur almost daily.

Late Thursday, security forces armed with rocket-propelled grenades killed two militants in an assault on a house in the village of Severny. One of the insurgents killed was identified by police as a militant commander, Adam Guseinov. The respected newspaper Kommersant on Thursday reported that suspects in the airport bombing included a man identified as Vitaly Razdobudko, allegedly a member of an insurgent group in the Stavropol region of the Caucasus called the Nogai Brigade.

The state news agency RIA Novosti quoted an unidentified source as saying surveillance video showed Razdobudko was not the bomber. However, reports suggest he is being seen as possibly the organizer of the attack.

A half-dozen transport and police officials have been fired in connection with the bombing. President Dmitry Medvedev said after the blast that Domodedovo's security was in a "state of anarchy." The attack stained Russia's image at a vulnerable time, coming just before Medvedev's appearance at the Davos World Economic Forum to try to woo international investment. The explosion also called into question Russia's ability to safely host major international events such as the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Japanese monkeys at the Bioparco di Roma Zoo are being given frozen fruits to cope up with the heatwave. 

    Humans have ice creams, zoo animals have frozen treats for summer heat | Video

    A Rome zoo is feeding frozen fruits, meat and fish to its animals to provide them with some relief from scorching temperatures, news agency AFP said Thursday. In Rome, the mercury on Tuesday touched 39 degrees Celsius and temperatures are expected to remain high in the coming weeks. At a zoo in Punjab's Ludhiana too ice slabs, coolers and fruits have been deployed. Similar initiatives have been taken at the Byculla Zoo in Mumbai.

  • Beer from recycled toilet water

    'Tastes just like beer...I like'. Want beer from recycled toilet water?

    “NEWBrew” is no ordinary beer. The new Singapore blond ale is made with recycled sewage. NEWBrew uses NEWater, Singapore's brand of drinking water recycled from sewage, which first flowed from treatment plants in 2003 to improve the island's water security. Singapore's NEWater is made by disinfecting sewage with ultraviolet light and passing the liquid through advanced membranes to remove contaminant particles. Breweries elsewhere have also made beer with recycled sewage.

  • Dictator's son Marcos Jr. takes oath as Philippine president

    Dictator's son Marcos Jr. takes oath as Philippine president

    The namesake son of an ousted dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., was sworn in as Philippine president Thursday in one of the greatest political comebacks in recent history but which opponents say was pulled off by whitewashing his family's image. Activists and survivors of the martial law-era under his father protested Marcos Jr.'s inauguration, which took place at a noontime ceremony at the steps of the National Museum in Manila.

  • Authorities have moved to eliminate any potential source of embarrassment during Xi's time in the city, with national security police making at least nine arrests over the past week.

    Hong Kong on high alert as Xi Jinping visit expected for handover

    Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Hong Kong Thursday, prompting a massive security effort ahead of celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the city's handover to communist China. Government leaders have been forced into a closed-loop system, parts of the city shut down, and multiple journalists barred from Friday events that will showcase the Communist Party's control over the city after a political crackdown that dismantled a democracy movement and crushed dissent.

  • The North Korean government has consistently denied any role in cyber-enabled theft.

    North Korean hackers suspected in $100 million Harmony heist

    Suspected North Korean hackers known as the Lazarus Group are believed to be behind the recent $100 million heist on California blockchain Harmony, a firm that tracks stolen cryptocurrency said Wednesday. In April, the US Department of Homeland Security issued an alert saying the group was sponsored by the North Korean government, and that it has targeted crypto firms since 2020.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, June 30, 2022