Suicide Bombing on Russian Train Near Chechnya Kills 42

A suicide bombing on a commuter train in the southern Russian town of Yessentuki killed at least 42 people and wounded 150 Friday. President Vladimir V. Putin denounced the bombing as a terrorist act intended to disrupt national parliamentary elections Saturday.

In a cruel twist of fate, Russia got a taste of what it created. For years the former communists state trained, supplied, and exported terrorist tactics to the Middle East. Now, funded by Saudi and Gulf oil revenues, it has come back home.

As a crowded commuter train left the station in Yessentuki, near the foothills of the Caucasus, the second car was torn apart by an explosion. Experts claim as much as 20 pounds of explosives were used in the attack. The train was near Chechnya, the work was that of Islamist homicide bombers. The victims were mainly students. President Putin claims this was designed to undermine upcoming elections, but he still misses the point. It's about Islam, ethnic tensions are secondary.

According to press reports more than 150 other passengers, many of them students on their way to schools in the resort city of Mineralnye Vody, were wounded, some of them gravely. The toll was 42 dead and that was expected to rise. Few think the attack would change the election. The press claims, "leaders across the political spectrum condemned the attack.

Mr. Putin rose to power vowing to crush Chechnya's separatist movement. As with previous attacks attributed to Chechens, the bombing only hardened the Kremlin's avowals to crush separatists in Chechnya whom officials link to international terrorist organizations." I'm sure this gives Putin an issue and doesn't help Chechens either.

There were reports that one of Chechnya's most notorious rebel commanders, Shamil Basayev, had threatened to stage a new wave of terrorist attacks only hours before the bombing. The police foiled another attack by discovering a car loaded with explosives in Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya. Security has been tightened across Russia, especially in and near Chechnya.

Shamil Salmanovich Basayev (b. January 14, 1965) would be killed in 2006. To quote Wiki,

Basayev was considered by some as the undisputed leader of the radical wing of the Chechen insurgency against the presence of Russian federal security forces, and the rule of the pro-Moscow local government in Chechnya, considered a foreign occupation by the separatists. He was responsible for numerous guerrilla attacks on security forces in and around Chechnya as well as terrorist attacks on civilians, because of which he is widely considered to have been a terrorist. His reign of terror came to an end after separatist leaders persuaded him not to carry out any more terrorist attacks. Basayev was killed by an explosion on July 10, 2006. Controversy still surrounds who is responsible for his death.

Other details from the New York Times:

The bomber appeared to have worked with three accomplices, all women. Two of them are believed to have leapt from the train shortly before the explosion. A third, might have detonated the explosive by remote control, was gravely wounded and not likely to survive.

Over the spring and summer, Russia suffered a wave of terrorist attacks, most of them carried out by suicide bombers, including women. The attacks - at a rock concert in Moscow, a bus stop and military hospital in Mozdok and government buildings in Chechnya - killed more than 250 people.

The involvement of women in all but one of the attacks has struck a nerve in Russia, where they are luridly described as "black widows," bent on avenging the deaths of fathers, husbands and sons. In recent months, however, the attacks appeared to wane. The last occurred in early September, when a bomb exploded on a train on the same commuter line as Friday's attack, killing six people.

Officials have attributed the attacks - as well as the siege of a theater in Moscow in October last year that ended with the deaths of 129 hostages and 41 guerrillas - to Chechens aided and increasingly schooled by international Islamic extremists. The New York Times failed to note the terrorists phoned the Persian Gulf during that attack.

See Chechen Terrorists Funded by Saudi Arabia

"The United States also condemned it. "No cause, no circumstances justify such actions," said Adem Ereli, deputy spokesman at the State Department in Washington. Battered by the overwhelming power of federal and regional troops in Chechnya, the separatists no longer have the ability to mount significant military offensives and have instead relied increasingly on guerrilla strikes and terrorist bombings."

What isn't stated is the US and Britain keep siding with the terrorists, a problem that is causing tension between the US and Russia. This is in addition to our support of Bosnian and Kosovo Islamists against Russian ally Serbia. Also in regards to the invasion of Georgia by Russia in 2008, the press failed to mention that Chechen terrorists have been operating from there.

To further quote,

From the initial reports, Friday's attack appeared well organized. Officials said the train had been swept for bombs before it left the resort town of Kislovodsk. It appeared that the four people reportedly involved must have boarded at one of three stops along the way, evading the heightened security measures. It was not clear what happened to the two women Mr. Patrushev said jumped from the train...

...Russia had recent success in fighting terrorism stemming from the wars in Chechnya, he warned of a new threat. After nearly a decade of conflict, including two wars and the destruction of the republic's economy, industry and schools. According to Russian officials, "a new generation has grown in Chechnya that has not seen anything but war. Many cannot read, many cannot speak Russian, but they know very well how to disassemble a Kalashnikov and how to set up a mine."

And they can use a cell phone to call Saudi Arabia for support.

Ref. New York Times December 6, 2003