Bodies and bombs found near Sochi just weeks before the Winter Olympic Games has led to increased anti-terrorism sweeps by Russian authorities
in the nation's southern region.
According to Russian investigators, on Wednesday three cars were found rigged with explosive devices containing six bullet-ridden bodies between them. Just one of the three cars exploded, the detonation having occurred as Russian security officials approached the vehicle, ABC News reported
Stavropol is approximately 190 miles from Sochi and considered a gateway to the North Caucasus region, where Russia faces an insurgency by Islamist militants who have threatened to try to prevent the Olympics from going ahead, Reuters notes
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The identities of the individuals recovered inside the cars have not been released, nor have authorities disclosed any information as to their intended targets.
Two weeks earlier, 31 people were killed and dozens more injured between two separate bombings
in the city of Volgograd, a city that thousands of spectators will travel through on their way to the games in Sochi.
Though no terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the Volgograd bombings or the recent discovery of bodies and explosives in cars in Stavropol, Doku Umarov, the leader of the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, has in the past called for attacks aimed at undermining the Sochi Olympics, Fox News reported
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To thwart such attacks, tens of thousands of Russian police, security agents, rescue workers and army personnel have been dispatched to region where the Olympic Games will be held, according to the Russian government, which is also imposing a ban on all vehicles in the resort town except those that are registered in Sochi or have special Olympics passes.
The FBI gave a vote of confidence to Russia's Olympic security preparations, with Director James Comey telling reporters this week, "I think the Russian government understands the threat and is devoting the resources to address it."
Despite the FBI assurance, the U.S. ski and snowboard team have hired a private security firm which is said to have five aircraft on standby if the athletes need to be evacuated from Sochi, ABC News reported.
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