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Chechen rebel leader claims Moscow bombing

Chechen rebel leader claims Moscow bombing
A wounded blast victim is brought by rescuers to a hospital from Domodedovo airport in Moscow on January 24, 2011. A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people and many injured at the Russian largest international airport. UPI | License Photo

MOSCOW, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov said he ordered last month's Moscow airport bombing and vowed to launch additional similar attacks.

The Jan. 24 suicide bombing targeting the international arrivals hall at Domodedovo Airport in Moscow killed 36 people and injured around 180 others.

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In a video message sent to the Islamic Web site Kavkaz Center, Umarov said the attack was a response to what he called "Russian crimes in the Caucasus," the BBC reports.

"This special operation was carried out on my orders and, God willing, special operations like it will continue to be carried out," he was quoted as saying in the video message. "Regular, deeper and more aggressive operations" would be staged if Russia didn't leave the Caucasus, Umarov added. He also blasted the United States and Israel for attacking Muslims all over the world.

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The video, which shows Umarov wearing a military camouflage uniform, is dated Jan. 24, 2011, the day of the attack.

Umarov is the leader of an insurgency that aims to create an Islamic state based on Shariah law stretching across the North Caucasus' predominantly Muslim republics Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia. Russia has been fighting the insurgency for many years following two bloody conflicts in Chechnya in the 1990s.

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Last March, suicide bombers linked to the Caucasus insurgency struck two Moscow metro trains, killing 39 people and injuring more than 100.

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Authorities have identified a 20-year-old man from the North Caucasus as the suicide bomber. The Kremlin shook up the security scene after the attack, firing a regional transport chief and a Moscow police deputy head.

Kremlin spokeswoman Natalya Timakov said Tuesday that several senior Russian intelligence officials were sacked after a commission found negligent security checks at the airport, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports.

Russian lawmakers on Tuesday were to discuss the investigation into the attack in the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament.

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Meanwhile, a bullet was mailed to the Russian Embassy in Japan, embassy spokesman Sergei Yasenev told RIA Novosti.

"We link this with activities of ultra-right forces or mentally unstable people," was quoted as saying Tuesday.

Russia and Japan have been locked in a territorial disagreement over four islands off Russia's far eastern coast, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Kuril Islands in Russia. The islands are the southernmost of a larger group of islands annexed by Russia after World War II.

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