Teen 'Black Widow' Suspected in Moscow Bombing

Teen bomber was married to Islamic leader killed by Russian forces.

April 2, 2010, 9:53 AM

MOSCOW, April 2, 2010 -- One of the two suicide bombers who attacked Moscow's subway system Monday, killing 40 people, was a 17-year-old girl, authorities said.

Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova was the young widow of Umalat Magomedov, an Islamist militant leader from the restive southern republic of Dagestan who was killed on New Year's Eve by Russian federal security forces, according to media reports.

She was identified based on forensic and genetic tests, along with "identification procedures," a spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee said today.

The first picture that surfaced was of the couple, each holding a pistol; Abdurakhmanova in traditional Muslim dress looking menacingly into the lens. Others have since emerged of the baby-faced teen holding various other weapons.

Abdurakhmanova, also known as Abdullayeva, detonated her explosives packed with bolts at the height of rush hour Monday at the Park Kultury metro station, 40 minutes after another female suicide bomber detonated at the Lubyanka metro station. Lubyanka is near the headquarters of the Federal Security Services, previously the KGB.

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The Investigative Committee spokesman, Vladimir Markin, said the identity of the other female suicide bomber was still being established. Kommersant reported that authorities suspect Markha Ustrakhanova, 20, of the predominantly Muslim Chechnya.

Ustrakhanova was also a widow. Her husband was a Chechen militant killed in October as he allegedly plotted to assassinate the republic's president.

The 'Black Widows'

When news broke that the two attackers were women, some feared that a band of female suicide bombers called the "Black Widows" who carried out several deadly attacks earlier in the decade had been revived.

Abdurakhmanova was recruited online when she was 16, Kommersant reported. Investigators believe that about 30 suicide bombers were recruited and trained under the tutelage of an Islamic preacher, Said Buryatsky, who was killed in March. Some have carried out their attacks but many reportedly remain at large.

Until now, law enforcement officials in Moscow have remained mum, refusing to comment on reports and pictures of the alleged bombers and their accomplices.

Meanwhile, a 51-year-old man died in the hospital Thursday morning, bringing the death toll from Moscow's worst terrorist attack in six years to 40. More than 80 are still in the hospital.

The Dagestan interior ministry passed Abdurakhmanova's picture and biographical information up to the Moscow authorities, according to Kommersant. In the picture featured in the paper, Abdurakhmanova bears a strong resemblance to a grisly photo on the Internet allegedly showing one of the bombers after she carried out the attack.

Her husband, Umalat Magomedov, was a leader of Dagestan's Islamist resistance and part of the inner circle of Doku Umarov. Umarov has been called Russia's most wanted man, having led attacks against Russian forces for years in an effort to carve out a Muslim state in the North Caucasus region.

Umarov claimed responsibility for the Moscow attacks in a video posted on a militant Web site Wednesday, warning that more are coming.

"I promise you that the war will come to your streets and you will feel it in your lives, feel it on your own skin," Umarov said, dressed in camouflage fatigues.

He said Monday's attacks were retaliation for a Federal Security Services operation in Dagestan's neighboring republic of Ingushetia in February that killed 18 militants and left four civilians dead.

President Medvedev Calls for Harsher Measures

Two suicide bombers also struck the town of Kizlyar in Dagestan Wednesday, killing 12, including nine police officers.

Authorities believe that Abdurakhmanova and her fellow attacker traveled to Moscow by bus via Kizlyar in Dagestan.President Dmitry Medvedev has called the two attacks this week "links of the same chain" and, during a surprise visit to Dagestan Wednesday, promised "brutal" tactics to deal with the insurgents.

"We must deal sharp dagger blows to the terrorists, destroy them and their lairs," Medvedev, dressed in a black suit over a black T-shirt, told law enforcement officials and local leaders.

The North Caucasus region has seen a spike in violence in the past year between Islamist separatist militants and the authorities. But it rarely spills over into the rest of Russia and is therefore largely ignored.

An express train between Moscow and St. Petersburg was bombed in November, killing 26. Umarov and his "Caucasus Emirate" group claimed responsibility and vowed more attacks would follow.

The National Counter-Terrorism committee Friday said that efforts to "identify and neutralize those who ordered, masterminded and perpetrated the terrorist attacks are continuing."

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