A warning about bombs disguised as toothpaste has gone out to airlines flying to Russia for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games which begin on Friday.
According to the U.S. Homeland Security Department, terrorists might attempt to disrupt the games by concealing explosive materials inside toothpaste tubes before detonating them onboard.
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Speaking on a condition of anonymity, a law enforcement official, while refusing to discuss the details of the toothpaste bomb warning, released a statement to various news outlets Wednesday.
"Out of an abundance of caution, [the Department of Homeland Security] regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics," the statement read.
"While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority," the statement continues. "As always, our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, and DHS will continue to adjust security measures to fit an ever-evolving threat environment."
According to the source, terrorists would likely try to assemble the explosive device once they managed to smuggle the materials on board.
Delta Airlines is the only U.S. carrier with a direct flight from the United States to Moscow, while the Russian airlines Aeroflot and Transaero both operate several nonstop flights from the U.S., the Associated Press reported
. United Airlines, the official airline of the U.S. Olympic team, does not have scheduled service to Russia but is operating some charter flights to Sochi.
Prior to the advisory, Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN
that "anybody who wants to go to the Olympics, which are just a great event, should go. And we're not telling people not to go."
Fears of a terrorist strike on the Sochi Olympic Games were heightened after a late December double bombing in the city of Volgograd
– formerly known as Stalingrad – that killed 31 people.
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Two weeks later, three cars rigged with explosive devices containing six bullet-ridden bodies
inside them were discovered by Russian authorities in the city of Stavropol, which is approximately 190 miles from Sochi.
Though no terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the Volgograd bombings or the bodies and explosives in cars in Stavropol, Doku Umarov, the murderous Chechen warlord who is often referred to as "Russia's Bin Laden,"
has in the past called for attacks aimed at the Sochi Olympics.
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