MOSCOW, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Russian authorities released the identities of the suicide bombers who launched two attacks in Volgograd in December that killed 34 people, and arrested two brothers who allegedly assisted them.
On Thursday, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee publicly named Asker Samedov and Suleiman Magomedov from the Buinaksk militant group based in southern Dagestan as the two bombers. Authorities also announced they have detained two brothers, Magomednabi and Tagir Batirov, as suspected accomplices in the bombings.
Samedov, according to Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, was responsible for the December 29 bombing at the city's central train station. Magomedov conducted the December 30 commuter bus attack that ultimately claimed 16 lives.
A video released on January 19 purportedly shows the suicide bombers issuing a threat to attack the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. With an al-Qaida-affiliated flag behind them, one of the young men warns "We've prepared a present for you and all the tourists who'll come over." If the Olympics go on as planned, "you'll get a present from us for the Muslim blood that's been spilled."
Russian authorities have increased security in and around the Sochi Olympics site, and President Vladimir Putin has assured a safe and secure Winter Games.
Terror attacks, anti-terror sweeps, and a publicized search for four "Black Widows" ahead of the February opening prompted the U.S. Department of State to release details concerning security at the Olympics.
On Wednesday, the State Department announced it will host an online forum to provide information to Americans traveling to Sochi. The online forum will take place on Thursday, January 30 at 1:00 p.m. EST and will be broadcast live on the State Department's YouTube channel and Google+ page. Questions can be submitted in advance via Facebook and Twitter using #AskTravelGov and tweeting to @TravelGov.
[The Moscow Times] [BBC]