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Authorities have detained over 700 people in Volgograd following two suicide bombings in the city at the end of December. Officials have said that the two bombers were men from the North Caucasus; other reports alleged that one was an ethnic Russian who had converted to Islam. No group has claimed the attack.
President Putin said Russia would continue its fight against terrorists "until their complete annihilation." After two recent suicide bombings in Volgograd, some 5,200 police officers have begun conducting an antiterrorism operation in the city, and have detained 87 people after examining 1,500 buildings and searching over 1,000 people. In Dagestan, a homemade bomb killed a prosecutor's aide, and a bomb attack on a police patrol yesterday killed two people and injured five more, four of whom were policemen.
A suicide bomber detonated on a crowded trolley in Volgograd, killing at least 14 people, the second such attack in two days in the city. Yesterday a Caucasus Emirate-linked "Black Widow" suicide bomber from Dagestan detonated inside the Volgograd central train station, killing at least 17 people. Islam Atiev, a Caucasus Emirate member, was killed in a clash with security forces in Dagestan on Dec. 28. Since then, security forces killed two suspected militants in Dagestan, two more in Stavropol Krai, and three more in Kabardino-Balkaria. Security is being heightened across the country in advance of the Olympics in Sochi.
At least three people were killed when a car exploded near a police station in Pyatigorsk in the Stavropol region, which borders the North Caucasus republics. A video showing Caucasus Emirate leader Doku Umarov was uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 19, a day after Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, declared that Umarov was dead. Foreign Minister Lavrov warned against the West's 'flirtation' with the Islamic Front in Syria, saying the group could be close to al Qaeda forces.
Authorities claimed to have killed four members of an Islamist militant cell, including leader Arsen Khandokhov, during a raid near Mount Elberus in Kabardino-Balkaria. Four security force members were killed in a shootout with militants in Dagestan. Apti Alaudinov, Chechnya's First Deputy Interior Minister, told municipal authorities that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has given him virtually unbridled powers, including the use of summary executions and planted evidence, to crack down on Islamist extremists. Russia deployed short-range ballistic Iskander missiles in the western Kaliningrad area.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said security forces are training to counter threats from jihadists who claim "that after Syria they will migrate to the North Caucasus and engage in terrorist and subversive activities." Chechen authorities have banned funeral ceremonies for anyone killed in Syria; a senior Chechen immigration official was sacked because his daughter had joined the Syrian rebels. Experts say well over 400 Russians are fighting with al Qaeda forces in Syria. The top federal investigator in Chechnya resigned after eight months. Security forces conducted a counterterroism raid in Kabardino-Balkaria and killed a suspected militant in a shootout in Dagestan.
Two suspected Islamist militants and one policeman were killed in a shootout in Ingushetia. Security forces killed three militants in Dagestan on Nov. 26.
Authorities arrested 15 members of the banned Islamist militant group At-Takfir Wal-Hijra in east Moscow. The Interior Ministry said the cell was discovered during ongoing investigations into criminal activity, not terrorism; the al Qaeda-linked group was allegedly funding its activities through crime. A quantity of weapons and explosives was confiscated, including grenades, IEDs, handguns, and bomb components, along with extremist literature.
Wanted Dagestani militant Ruslan Kazanbiev was killed in a shootout with police in Makhachkala on Nov. 19. Two policemen and a passerby were also killed in the clash, and another policeman was injured. Authorities have surrounded the house where three of Kazanbiev's associates are hiding.