With only two weeks to go before the Sochi Olympic Games, fears of potential terrorist attacks are mounting. Reports of potential threats have been surfacing all week.
IOC calls threats “fake”
Italian, Hungarian, German, British, and Austrian Olympic committees reported that they have received threats via email. The messages originated from Israel and are believed to have been sent by the same person.
Authorities are not concerned about these terror threats, as they are consistent with threats that have been sent for years. They insist the threats can not be taken seriously. The International Olympic Committee is calling the emails “fake.”
A video of two people alleging to have been involved in the Volgograd bombings in December was posted Jan. 19. The two bombers warned that the Sochi Olympics would include a “present for all the innocent Muslim blood being spilled around the world.”
Russia’s counter-terrorist agency is examining the video that has been connected to a Dagestan militant group.
Black Widow suicide bomber
A woman believed to be one of three potential black widow bombers is reported to be somewhere in Sochi. Security officials are searching for the woman, whose husband was an Islamic militant killed by Russian forces.
The woman has been identified as Ruzanna Ibragimova.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour recently conducted an interview with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He addressed the increasing security concerns:
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Should the Canadian public be concerned for athletes and friends traveling to Sochi?
No known threats have been made to the Canadian Olympic committee so far. But some athletes have voiced their concerns.
“Obviously it’s not Vancouver. You’re going to a pretty dangerous part of the world,” women’s hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser told the Calgary Herald. “But the truth is that in every Olympics I’ve been to, it’s the safest place in the world for 17 days. We know the Russians don’t want to be embarrassed.”
But Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo isn’t taking any chances.
“I’d rather them (his family) be safe at home,” Luongo told Global News when asked if his family would be present in Sochi.
A Canadian Olympic Committee representative would not elaborate on this statement released Jan. 22.
“The Canadian Olympic Committee has and continues to work very closely with government and security forces in Canada as a cornerstone of our preparation for Sochi 2014. This preparation extends to a close collaboration with the Organizing Committee in Sochi and the host nation, Russia, who are responsible for all security matters relating to Sochi 2014. As with other Olympic Games, our safety and security measures are always adapted to each environment.”
Meanwhile, the government of Canada has not adjusted the current travel advisories. It suggests a high degree of caution when traveling anywhere in Russia.
A regional advisory is in effect for areas with a high Muslim population. These include:
-Balkaria (including the Mount Elbrus region)
Preparation is key for any travel plans.