Suspected 'Black Widow' suicide bomber kills 6 in southern Russia


A suspected "Black Widow" female suicide bomber attacked a bus in the southern Russia city of Volgograd today, not far from Sochi, the site of the February 2014 Winter Olympics. The attack is the first such incident in the region in over a year.

According to Russia's Federal Investigative Committee, a 30-year-old Dagestani woman named Naida Asiyalova boarded the bus at a stop, then detonated shortly afterward in an explosion that killed at least six people and wounded 32 others. There are thought to have been about 40 people on the bus.

Identity documents found near the blast site indicated that she was the wife of wanted Islamist militant Dmitri Sokolov, also known as Abdul Jabbar, who is a suspect in two bombings in Dagestan that injured 29 people. Asiyalova comes from Makhachkala, the capital of the insurgency-plagued republic of Dagestan. Makhachkala is about 500 miles south of Volgograd, the site of the attack.

Naida-Asiyalova-passport-black-widow.jpg

Passport photo of Naida Asiyalova, from Russia Today; click to view.

No group has claimed the attack, but it is likely the work of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate and its Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyr Brigade, which have been responsible for a series of bombings and suicide attacks in the Caucasus region and beyond over the past decade.

The Brigade was revived in 2009 under Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov, a terrorist blacklisted by the US in 2010 who has vowed further suicide attacks.

During an interview in February 2010 with the pro-terrorist Kavkaz Center, Umarov threatened to conduct attacks using the Riyad-us-Saliheen Brigade in the heart of Russia, and reiterated that the brigade was back in action.

"The zone of military operations will be extended to the territory of Russia," Umarov told Kavkaz. Umarov also claimed that the Riyad-us-Saliheen Brigade has been "replenished with the best among the best of the Mujahideen and if the Russians do not understand that the war will come to their streets, that the war will come to their homes, so it is worse for them." [See LWJ report, 'Black Widow' female suicide bombers kill 37 in Moscow metro blasts.]

In September 2010, Emir Adam, the commander of the the leader of the Caucasus Emirate forces in Ingushetia, claimed that the suicide teams of the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyrs' Brigade executed the Sept. 9 suicide attack in Vladikavkaz that killed 18 people. He said that "[o]ur immediate goal is expulsion of invaders, the return to Muslims of the lands of the Caucasus and establishment of the Islamic rule on them." One month earlier, the Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyrs' Brigade had released a statement in support of Umarov and threatened to carry out more attacks. [See LWJ report, Riyad-us-Saliheen Martyrs' Brigade claims suicide attack in southern Russia.]

Female suicide bombers from the Caucasus, known as the Black Widows, have targeted Russian civilians and security personnel in multiple attacks over the past decade, including: the attack on the Nord-Ost Moscow theater (129 killed); an assassination attempt against Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov (14 killed); a suicide attack on a train in Southern Russia (46 killed); a dual suicide attack at a rock concert at Tushino Airfield in Moscow (16 killed); the destruction of two Russian airliners in 2004 (more than 90 killed); the attack on a school in Beslan in North Ossetia (334 killed); the Moscow metro bombings (39 killed); and the Moscow airport bombing (37 killed).

In the Moscow Metro bombings on March 29, 2010, two female suicide bombers detonated their vests during morning rush hour at metro stations in Moscow, killing 37 people and wounding 65 more.

More recently, on Aug. 29, 2012, a Black Widow suicide bomber carried out an attack in Dagestan that killed a moderate Sufi cleric and six other people. The attack was the third in two months against prominent Muslim clerics who were working to promote moderate versions of Islam in Russia. The attacker, a convert to Islam whose current husband as well as two previous husbands were Islamist militants, was the first known ethnic Russian female to become a suicide bomber, Reuters said at the time. [See LWJ report, 'Black Widow' assassinates moderate Muslim cleric in Russia's Caucasus.]

In July this year, Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov issued a statement calling for further attacks aimed at disrupting Russia's plans for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, according to the Kavkaz Center. He stated: "We know that on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many Muslims who died and are buried on our territory along the Black Sea, today they plan to stage the Olympic Games. We, as the Mujahedeen, must not allow this to happen by any means possible."

Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings this spring, Russian authorities announced that they would be bolstering security in Sochi starting on June 1, the Moscow Times reported. More recently, The Guardian disclosed that Russia's intelligence service is planning to monitor "all communications" by athletes and visitors at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.


Sources:

Female suicide bomber attacks Russian bus, kills six, Reuters
Russia bus bomb: Volgograd blast kills six, BBC
Suicide bomb on bus in Russia kills five ahead of Sochi Olympics, The Telegraph/ Interfax
Suicide Bomber Said To Have Carried Out Volgograd Bus Attack, Radio Liberty
Terrorist blast kills at least 6, injures over 30 in Volgograd, central Russia, RT



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READER COMMENTS: "Suspected 'Black Widow' suicide bomber kills 6 in southern Russia"

Posted by Birbal Dhar at October 21, 2013 4:22 PM ET:

The suicide bomber's husband is a muslim convert from Siberia. Suicide bombing is so common in Dagestan and other Muslim dominated areas in the Caucasus, that the media outside Russia don't bother headlining it, let alone reporting it. If it happened in Moscow, it may had attracted news from the BBC, CNN, Sky etc.. I know Volvograd is mainly populated by ethnic Russians, who are predominantly Christians, but places like those that are in southern Russia don't get much news coverage outside Russia either.

Posted by . at October 21, 2013 11:50 PM ET:

The Russian security services are going to extremely busy up to and during the Olympics.

Posted by Arjuna at October 22, 2013 12:55 PM ET:

I love you so much, honey, I made you an extra-heavy belt!! :( The strangest part is she originally radicalized him. She blew up mainly schoolchildren in this "attack". So sad. http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/husband-prepared-russian-bomber-for-fatal-bus-attack-report-113102201050_1.html

Posted by 5150 at October 22, 2013 3:51 PM ET:

@Birbal

How common are female suicide bombers in the areas you referenced?

Male violence/terrorism has repeatedly been explained through myriads of pertinent psychological/evolutionary perspective theories. However, it seems the academia I am familiar with is not quite aligned with the prevalence of female suicide-born improvised explosive devices in general. Female suicide bombers were employed in various conflicts, yet there is no hardly any meaningful information available (for myself).

It's safe to say, most individuals can provide relevant answer(s) to the question: why do females detonate themselves among unarmed civilians? Vengeance. Religious radicalization. Altered mental status via organic or substance.

Retrospectively, it's not like females suffer through the same social and reproductive chaos any 18-25 year-old dude would.

Posted by Birbal Dhar at October 22, 2013 9:09 PM ET:

@5150 I was referring to suicide bombing, which applies to males and females. I was not referring to exclusively female suicide bombers. My quote was "Suicide bombing is so common ..." It did not refer to any mention of females, let alone the word.

Posted by KM at October 23, 2013 8:36 AM ET:

Actually suicide attacks aren't that common in the Caucasus region compared to other hotspots. Security force clampdowns there have been very effective and the militancy is a shadow of its former self.

There are various suggested reasons why females carry out these attacks, some are probably true and most probably exaggerated. The widow/vengeance angle appears true in some cases, but certainly not all. Drugs, and even sexual assault have been reported as methods used to wear down self esteem. Don't think anyone really knows the extent and methods other than the manipulators themselves.

Posted by larry at October 23, 2013 2:31 PM ET:

What makes you think that suicide bombers are, by and large, a group of brain-washed or manipulated people? Maybe they do it because they want to see their own side win a conflict and have determined that becoming a suicide bomber is the most effective means at their disposal towards that end.

I don't consider myself brainwashed. I'm certainly not any kind of Islamist. I think I could, however, make a compelling case for the tactical benefit of suicide bombings towards achieving the Salafist's strategic goals.

Posted by KM at October 23, 2013 5:54 PM ET:


I was responding to the question as to why females do it - and these are some of the many suggested reasons. I'm sure some do make a conscious decision, but it seems many - male and female - don't. Lots certainly seem to be unstable and/or vulnerable. I doubt many would see it as a tactical benefit to a strategic end, or have any real idea what that end even was without being told it by their 'sponsor'.

I suppose it depends how far you see extreme religious interpretation as manipulation or brainwashing. I think it is, you possibly don't. Maybe they are convinced by the manipulators that it is the best way to win the war.

I could probably conjure a a compelling case too - but it doesn't mean the bombers at the sharp end are any less manipulated on the whole.

Posted by JRP at October 23, 2013 9:13 PM ET:

The U.S., Russia, and the U.K. have been so heavily targeted by World-wide Terrorists that to me it seems only natural that the 3 should lay aside any differences amongst them and resurrect the Grand Alliance that enabled these 3 same countries to defeat the Nazis in WWII.

Posted by Matt at October 26, 2013 5:44 AM ET:

For no reason I had the name Doku Umarov going round and round in my head like a song you can't get out of your head. I had to think for a minute of two who the name belong to. Strange because Chechnya is the farest thing from my mind. Had not read about it, nothing on the wally box not thinking about. Did not give it much thought as to why then the next day an attack. I even said I got this name going round an round in my head like a song. Usually means something bad is going to happen.