Russian Islamist wanted for Moscow blast

Reuters , Thursday 27 Jan 2011

Russian media reveals that security forces in Moscow have named a suspect affiliated with an Islamist insurgent group in the North Caucasus, as Putin vows 'retribution'


Security forces are searching for an ethnic Russian member of a North Caucasus Islamist group suspected of involvement in the Moscow airport bombing which killed 35, a leading daily reported on Thursday.

Monday's suicide attack in the arrivals hall of Domodedovo airport bore the hallmarks of Islamist insurgents from the North Caucasus, on Russia's southern flank. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which left some 130 injured. The daily Kommersant, citing unnamed security sources, said the wanted man was named Razdobudko and a resident of the North Caucasus province of Stavropol, which borders on provinces inhabited by mostly Muslim non-Russian ethnic minorities.

It said Razdobudko was believed to be a member of the Nogai Jamaat, an insurgent group based in Dagestan, a province at the heart of a growing Islamist insurgency fuelled by two post-Soviet separatist wars in neighbouring Chechnya.

State-run RIA news agency cited an unidentified law enforcement official as saying Razdobudko was one of nearly 10 people wanted in connection with the attack.

Investigators "are certain the trail of the crime leads to the North Caucasus. The suicide attacker who detonated the bomb in the airport was a native of that region", RIA quoted the official as saying.

Razdobudko may have organised the attack or even been the suicide bomber himself, Kommersant reported.

The insurgency has attracted few ethnic Russians, but some switched sides during the second war between federal forces and Chechen separatists a decade ago. Ethnic Russian members of Islamist groups have been blamed for previous attacks.

Kommersant said the Nogai Jamaat, or Nogai Group, was responsible for a New Year's Eve suicide bomb plot in Moscow that was foiled when a phone text message detonated the female attacker's bomb prematurely, killing her in her apartment.

The Nogai region is in northern Dagestan, close to Stavropol.

Dagestan is the site of frequent attacks. A car bomb late on Wednesday killed four people and injured three others outside a cafe in the Dagestan town of Khasavyurt, near the border with Chechnya, authorities said.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has vowed "retribution" for the airport bomb, which killed at least eight foreigners.

President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday that groups behind such attacks must be destroyed and told security forces an increase in terrorist attacks in 2010 was a strong signal that they must do a better job.

A picture of the alleged suicide bomber has been distributed to police stations across Russia, Interfax news agency quoted a law enforcement official as saying on Thursday.

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