More than two weeks after a double suicide bombing killed 34 and injured more than 60 people in the Russian city of Volgograd on New Year eve nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Chechen rebel warlord Doku Umarov, the self-proclaimed leader of the “Caucasus Emirate” is the prime suspect. Umarov, who in the past laid claim to many high-profile terror strikes in recent years, has called for wrecking the Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi next month, denouncing them as “Satanist dances on the bones of our ancestors.”
Many experts also see a foreign hand in the deadly attacks.
A statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry heighted the speculation.
“The criminal forays in Volgograd, as well as terrorist attacks in the U.S., Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Nigeria and other countries, have been organised according to the same pattern and have the same promoters,” the statement said.
Some commentators were quick to point the finger at Saudi Arabia, which has a long history of supporting Chechen separatists in the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century.
After the Volgograd blasts Russian and international media recalled that Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who made two secretive trips to Russia last year to meet President Vladimir Putin, reportedly threatened to unleash Chechen terrorists operating in Syria on Russia’s Winter Olympic if Moscow did not abandon its support for Syria’s embattled President Bashar al-Assad.
“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year,” the Saudi spy supremo was quoted by the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir as telling Mr Putin. “The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us.”
The Volgograd attacks came less than three weeks after Prince Bandar’s second meeting with Mr Putin.
“In the opinion of some experts the double terror strike in Volgograd has a Syrian origin and means that Russia and Saudi Arabia had failed to come to agreement,” said Dozhd (Rain), a private TV channel broadcasting from Moscow.
“There is no documented proof of the reports [about Prince Bandar’s threat], but there is neither any doubts that Wahhabi terrorism in Russia has been receiving support from the Persian Gulf Salafi regimes, above all Saudi Arabia,” Russia’s mainstream Izvestia daily said.