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Islamist rebel who threatened Olympics claimed dead

A Chechen rebel leader who vowed to disrupt the Sochi Winter Olympics is dead, Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov said Friday although Russian security services did not confirm the claim. Doku Umarov, who styles himself the "Caucasus Emir", was killed in a security operation, Kadyrov said in a statement published Friday on the Chechen government's website. "We are 99.9 percent sure of this," Kadyrov said.

Death toll from Russian bombings rises to 33

The death toll from two suicide bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd has risen to 33 after two victims succumbed to their injuries, the emergency situations ministry said Tuesday. "A victim of the explosion at the train station on December 29 died last night in the Volgograd hospital and the number of dead has risen to 18," ministry spokesman Dmitry Ulanov told the Interfax news agency. He added that another victim of Monday's suicide bombing on a trolleybus had also died, raising the toll from that blast to 15.

Four killed in North Caucasus train station blast

Four people were killed and 10 injured Sunday when a blast tore through a train station in the southern Russian city Volgograd ahead of February's Winter Olympic Games in nearby Sochi. Regional interior ministry spokeswoman Svetlana Smolyaninova told the ITAR-TASS news agency that the blast occurred inside the train station at around 12:45 pm (0845 GMT). "According to the latest information, which is preliminary, four people died as a result of the blast," Interfax quoted an unnamed local emergencies ministry official as saying.

Russia says kills bodyguard of Islamist insurgent leader

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The bodyguard of Russia's most wanted insurgent was killed by security forces on Saturday, officials said, as Moscow tries to curb militancy in its Caucasus region before it hosts the Winter Olympics near there in February. Russian authorities said Mikhail Musikhanov, killed along with another militant in a shootout in Ingushetia's Sunzha region, was the personal bodyguard of rebel leader Doku Umarov who has vowed to use "maximum force" to prevent President Vladimir Putin staging the 2014 Games in Sochi.

Top Russian Islamist calls for attacks on Sochi Games

Russia's top Islamist leader Doku Umarov called in a video released on Wednesday for jihadists to stage attacks against a range of targets that include the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. "We know that on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many Muslims who died and are buried on our territory along the Black Sea, today they plan to stage the Olympic Games. We, as the Mujahedeen, must not allow this to happen by any means possible," Umarov said in a message posted on the website. zak/hmn
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