The Russian National Anti-Terrorism Committee identified the two suicide bombers who killed 34 in the Russian city of Volgograd in December. Two suspected accomplices were also arrested.
Asker Samedov and Suleiman Magomedov were identified as the two bombers. They were said to be part of a terrorist group based in the Russian republic of Dagestan, though the specific group has yet to be determined. Russian authorities also arrested two brothers in Dagestan who allegedly helped the bombers travel to Volgograd.
Dagestan is at the center of an Islamic insurgency in Russia. “Dagestan is Russia’s wild southwest, breeding ground for Islamist terrorists,” reported John Ray of Independent Television News on Monday, “Suicide attacks in Volgograd demonstrated their range and deadly intent.”
The attacks in Volgograd also raised security concerns for the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi, which are set to begin in February. Andrew Weiss of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace told the NewsHour Tuesday that the Volgograd bombings highlighted the vulnerabilities in Moscow’s subway system which at rush hour holds a “mass of humanity.”
“I think there is going to be a jump to conclusions, saying this is a blow against Putin, this shows that Russia is not safe, this shows that Sochi is not safe,” said Weiss. “So, that’s what — that’s the message that the Putin government is trying to control.”
After the two bombings in Volgograd, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to eliminate terrorists in his country. “We will confidently, fiercely and consistently continue the fight against terrorists until their complete annihilation,” said Putin.