Monday, March 29, 2010

Suicide Bombers Target Moscow Subway

A pair of suicide bombers struck the Moscow subways during the height of the morning rush hour, killing dozens and wounding more than 100 others. The attacks included one of the stations closest to the headquarters for the former KGB and current home to the state intel services.
Female suicide bombers set off huge explosions in two subway stations in central Moscow during the Monday morning rush hour, Russian officials said, killing more than three dozen people and raising fears that the Muslim insurgency in southern Russia was once again being brought to the country’s heart. The first attack occurred as commuters were exiting a packed train at a station near the headquarters of the F.S.B., the successor to the Soviet-era K.G.B. Officials said they suspected that the attack there was intended as a message to the security services, which have helped lead the crackdown on Islamic extremism in Chechnya and other parts of the Caucasus region in southern Russia.

The two explosions spread panic throughout the capital as people searched for missing relatives and friends, and the authorities tried to determine whether more attacks were planned. The subway system is one of the world’s most extensive and well-managed, and it serves as a vital artery for Moscow’s commuters, carrying as many as 10 million people a day.

“The terrorist acts were carried out by two female terrorist bombers,” said Moscow’s mayor, Yuri M. Luzhkov. “They happened at a time when there would be the maximum number of victims.”

Mr. Luzhkov said 23 people were killed in the first explosion, at the Lubyanka station, and 12 people were killed 40 minutes later at the Park Kultury station. At least two others died later. More than 100 people were injured.
The terrorists were likely Chechen sympathizers, given that two females were suspected as being the bombers and Chechen terrorist groups tend to use women to carry out their attacks, unlike other Islamic terror groups that generally use men. The use of a coordinated attack in this case is interesting given that there is an alignment of interests between the Chechen terrorists and al Qaeda and that al Qaeda terrorists were known to be trained and operated in Chechnya and have links to the various Chechen terrorist groups. Sharing methods and tactics should be expected, which makes defending against those terror attacks all the more difficult.

There is also a suggestion that the Chechen Black Widows being involved in the attack. The Black Widows are believed to be the widows of men who were killed in the fight with Russia and while some argue that this is a politically motivated terrorist group, the religious undertones permeate the Chechen conflict, where the Chechens are largely Sunni Muslims who want a Muslim homeland for themselves.

Here in the NYC metro area, security has been beefed up, but it's a paltry show of force against a determined foe that is more than willing to use our own freedom of travel against us to maximize the carnage. The NYPD has added police patrols to the subways and there's a show of force at major subway stations, but that still leaves far too much of the system exposed given that there 240 stations in the system and hundreds of subway trains and thousands of cars operating at any one time.

The black widows are a spinoff from Basayev's Islamic terror outfit, which was responsible for multiple terror attacks in Russia, including the Beslan school massacre. They are an Islamic terror group, and one of the other monikers for the black widows is that they are known as Shahidka (Martyrs) and others report their name as the Brides of Allah, making the reference to Islamic terrorism all the more explicit.

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