by Florian Flade
Once again Russia was struck today by the forces of terrorism from the North Caucasus. This time Moscow´s International Airport Domodedovo was the target, hit by one or possibly even multiple explosions in the late afternoon hours. According to various news reports at least 31 people died and 130 others were injured when a suspected suicide bomber blew himself up inside the aiport.
Domodedovo has been closed, all flights canceled and airplanes diverted to other Moscow airports. The Moscow transport system including the underground which was the target of Islamist terrorists in the past are on high alert right now.
Russia´s President Dimitri Medwedew said on State TV those responsible for today´s terror attack will be hunted down and punished.
Latest reports from Russia suggest North Caucasian networks are suspected of being the masterminds of the explosion at the airport today. Detail information is very rare at this point. Some reports say the bomb went of near the Asian Café in a lounge area of the aiport. Other media outlets are quoting witnesses as saying at least two explosions happened near the custom´s area or even the luggage claim.
The area were the alleged terror attack happened is frequented by passengers from Ukraine, Egypt, Germany, the UK, Greece, Belgium and Cuba. It is unconfirmed if there are foreigners among the casualties.
In October 2010 two female suicide bombers struck Moscow´s underground system, killing dozens. Both women were from the North Caucasus, widows of Jihadi rebels belonging to the „Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus“ network led by Dokku Umarov. Recently the Umarov network struggled from an internal fight about leadership position named a „fitna“ by colleague Aaron Zelin in his report.
Even with the internal fights between different regional commanders of the „Islamic Emirate“, the terror group remains a potent and lethal enemy to Russia itself and its allies in the Caucasus. In 2009 Dokku Umarov re-established the „Riyad us-Salihin – Brigade“, a special unit responsible for suicide bombing. This martyrdom-seeker´s unit carried out several attacks in the Caucasus Republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ossetia and Kabardino-Balkaria and is actively recruiting men and women from the local population.