'The war in the Caucusus may last a hundred years'

Former Russian Interpol head says terror threat in country worse than in Israel; 4 top transportation officials fired over airport bombing.

January 26, 2011 17:20
1 minute read.
Suicide bombing in Moscow Domodedovo Airport

Moscow airport bombing 311. (photo credit: AP)


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"The level of terror threats in Russia is higher than that in Israel," former head of Russian Interpol Vladimir Ovchinsky stated during an interview with Novye Ivestia newspaper Wednesday.

"Our war is more intensive than the one between the Israelis and the Palestinians," he added, saying pessimistically that "The war in the Caucuses may last a hundred years."

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There has been no claim of responsibility for the bombing that occurred at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, killing 35 people and wounding up to 170 Monday. Investigators have not named suspects or even presented a consistent account of what happened.

That uncertainty appeared to thicken on Wednesday when Putin said "according to preliminary information, this terrorist act isn't related to the Chechen Republic."

In the wake of the deadly bombing of Russia's busiest airport, President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday fired a top official of the country's transport police and lashed out at "passive" officers who guard the country's transport centers.

Medvedev, often criticized as hesitant or ineffectual, appears eager to assert that he's in control after Monday's attack that killed 35 people Monday at the capital's Domodedovo Airport.

Also Wednesday, the chief of the transport police division at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport and two officers were fired by Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev.

In the wake of the bombing, Medvedev initially criticized the airport's security forces. But Domodedovo's management objected, saying transport police were responsible for guarding access to the airport area where Monday's blast occurred.

Although there has been no claim of responsibility for the bombing, suspicion has fallen on Islamist separatists from Chechnya or elsewhere in the restive Caucasus region who have been battling Russian authority for over 15 years.

Some reports have suggested a connection with the Nogai Brigade, an insurgent group in the Stavropol region of southern Russia.

AFP contributed to this report.

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