Militants plot against Russia Olympics plans: security chief

3rd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

The chief of Russia's state security service said on Thursday militants aimed to thwart the country's plans to hold the Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in 2014, Russian news agencies reported.

"The threat of terrorist acts is becoming a factor which exerts a serious influence on political decision-making," Russian news agencies quoted head of FSB security service Alexander Bortnikov as saying at a security conference.

"A real threat from Al-Qaeda has become the reason for the cancellation of the 2008 Dakar Rally for the first time in the history of this prestigious race," he told the conference in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

"In this connection a number of ringleaders voice distinct intentions to play out a similar scenario in the run-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics," Bortnikov said.

The Black Sea resort town of Sochi lies a short drive from Russia's most volatile region of North Caucasus, where authorities have for years been entangled in a simmering guerrilla war with Muslim insurgents and where attacks on officials and suicide bombings are a frequent occurrence.

The Lisbon-Dakar Rally was called off by organisers in January 2008 following threats to its safety purportedly from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

Those threats came in the wake of the murder on December 24 of four French tourists in Mauritania.

© 2010 AFP

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