MOSCOW (TIP): Russia on Thursday launched a counterterrorism operation after five bullet-riddled bodies were found in a region bordering the Winter Olympic host Sochi, just weeks before the Games’ start. Two districts in the southern Stavropol region were placed on high alert after the bodies were discovered in parked cars, at least one of them apparently booby-trapped, the regional authorities said.
“A counterterrorism operation has been launched from January 9 in the Predgorny and Kirov districts of the Stavropol region,” the regional administration said. The authorities launched the most sweeping security operation in Olympic history, a month before Russia’s first post-Soviet Games kick off on February 7. Russia particularly fears attacks by Islamist militants from the North Caucasus during the prestigious event, after two suicide bombings at a rail station and in a trolleybus last month in the southern city of Volgograd killed 34.
As police examined a car in Stavropol which had the body of a local resident, an explosive device went off around 65 feet away. Officers then defused another device nearby. Two other bodies were identified as local cabbies and were found in the car’s back seat and in the boot. The remaining two bodies were found in a parked car, Interfax cited the FSB as saying.