Chechnya, the Russian republic believed to be connected to the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects, has been the scene of Muslim-related terrorism and violence since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.
Militants from Chechnya and neighboring provinces have launched a long series of terror attacks in Russia, including a 2002 hostage-taking raid in a Moscow theater, in which 129 hostages died, a 2004 hostage-taking incident at a school in Beslan that killed more than 330 people, and numerous bombings in Moscow and other cities.
“These are a very hardcore group of people,” Steven Bucci, an expert in defense and homeland security with the Heritage Foundation, told Newsmax on Friday. “The Islamists who are willing to take up the sword are willing to do it 110 percent.”
Bucci, a former Army Green Beret and deputy assistant secretary of defense, said the suspects’ willingness to engage in a firefight with police demonstrates their ruthlessness.
“Anyone can drop a bag and set off a bomb, but that’s a little different than having a firefight with the police,” he said. “These guys are pretty desperate, and they’re showing that they are willing to do terrible things.”
Predominantly Muslim, Chechnya declared independence from Russia in November 1991 and a separatist war broke out in 1994. The region is currently under firm Russian control.
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