- - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

MOSCOW | Russia’s top security officials on Tuesday briefed parliament about an investigation of last month’s suicide bombing at a Moscow airport, one day after Chechen warlord Doku Umarov took responsibility for the blast and threatened more attacks.

In addition, the Kremlin said Tuesday that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has fired several security service officers responsible for security failures that led to the deadly airport attack.

The Jan. 24 bombing of Domodedovo Airport killed 36 people and injured about 180. Russian investigators said the bomber was a 20-year-old man from the Caucasus region that includes Chechnya, but did not release his name or other details.

“The head of the Federal Security Service gave [Mr. Medvedev] a list of employees responsible for miscalculations in their work, who were fired for inadequately carrying out their responsibilities,” Kremlin spokeswoman Natalia Timakova was quoted by the ITAR-TASS agency as saying.

If the investigation shows that more security service employees were at fault, “they, too, will be punished,” she said.

The Kremlin did not reveal the names of the dismissed official or specify how many had been sacked.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Vasilyev, the head of parliament’s security committee, told reporters after the closed-door briefing that at least two people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the bombing.

The arrests appeared to be related to last week’s announcement that several people suspected of having information about the bombing had been detained.

Mr. Vasilyev and other lawmakers said the security officials identified the bomber and his accomplices but ordered their names withheld from the public.

“All residents of our country need to realize that we will have to live under the threat of terror for a long time to come,” Mr. Vasilyev said.

His deputy, Gennady Gudkov, said an autonomous group of several militants had carried out the attack, but added that Umarov could have links to the attack. Mr. Gudkov said that rebels operate in separate cells, which makes it harder to track them down.

Umarov’s statement in a video posted late Monday was likely to add to jitters in Russia’s capital and increase pressure on the government. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose popularity has hinged on his tough line against the insurgency, recently conceded that Russia must learn from foreign experience in fighting terror.

Umarov has taken responsibility for an array of terrorist attacks, including last year’s double suicide bombing of the Moscow subway system that killed 40 people.

He is seen more as an ideological than a military figure, as many terrorist cells operate autonomously and shun centralized command.

From combined dispatches



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