Investigators confirmed on Tuesday that one of the twin suicide bombings on Moscow’s subway last week was carried out by a 28-year-old teacher from the North Caucasus whose father had recognized her in a photograph of one of the dead attackers.
The two March 29 bombings, which killed 40 people and wounded 121 during the morning rush hour, were the first suicide attacks in the capital in six years. They served as a stark reminder of the Islamic insurgency raging in predominantly Muslim provinces of the North Caucasus, including Dagestan, where both bombers were from.
The Federal Security Service said Maryam Sharipova, a university-educated computer science teacher, was indeed one of the bombers. The other had been identified earlier as Dzhanet Abdurakhmanova, the 17-year-old widow of an Islamic militant slain by government forces.
The security service said it could not confirm suspicions that Sharipova was the wife of an Islamic militant. Her father, Rasul Magomedov, said local security officers had told him this, but he had believed his daughter when she said she would never marry without his consent. She taught at the same school as her parents and lived with them in her home village, Balakhani.
Sharipova was religious but never expressed any radical beliefs, her father said.
A Chechen militant leader, Doku Umarov, claimed responsibility for the attacks, which he said were retaliation for the killing of civilians by security forces.
Umarov, a veteran of the two separatist wars in Chechnya, is now seeking to create an Islamic state across the region.
Human rights groups accuse security forces and police in the North Caucasus of fuelling the insurgency through extrajudicial killings, abductions and abuses.