Moscow bombers planned New Year attack: report

AFP , Wednesday 26 Jan 2011

Security sources are quoted saying that the Moscow bombers had planned a suicide bombing for New Year's Eve, but the explosive charge went off prematurely

Organisers of the bombing at Russia's main airport had planned a devastating New Year's Eve attack, but it failed when the suicide bomber's device went off prematurely, a report said Wednesday.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper quoted security sources as saying North Caucasus militants had planned a suicide bombing in the midst of the dense crowds thronging the streets to see in the New Year in Moscow on 31 December .

But the explosive charge went off accidentally some hours before the chimes of New Year, possibly because the female bomber's mobile phone had received a spam SMS congratulating Russians on the New Year.

The suicide bombing had been planned on Manezh Square, just in front of the Kremlin walls, it said.

"Planning started for the Domodedovo airport explosion just after the failure of the Manezh Square plot," the paper said. The bombing on Monday afternoon at Russia's largest airport Domodedovo killed 35 people.

The first female bomber had rented a house on the territory of a shooting club within the Kuzminsky Park in southeast Moscow which the paper described as the ideal secret location for the plot.

But the bomber -- whose name was not disclosed -- accidentally set off the suicide belt prematurely while inside the house, the paper said.

She was killed and the building destroyed by the blast, which news agencies said took place at around 8:30 pm on New Year's Eve.

But another man and woman managed to escape, the paper said.

The other woman -- named as Zeinat Suyunova and the wife of a Caucasus militant arrested in September -- was detained on a train to the southern city of Volgograd on 5 January.

The Domodedovo plot was subsequently planned in a flat in the town of Zelenograd, just outside Moscow, where the security service carried out a search on 20 January but found nothing, the paper said.

The identity of the Domodedovo bomber remains a mystery, with some reports saying it was a female.

However the website on Tuesday published a picture of a severed male head, which it said was suspected to be that of the bomber.

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