July 3 - Doku Umarov, the leader of an Islamist insurgency in Russia's North Caucasus region, has urged followers to use "maximum force" to prevent the staging of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
The rebel leader, who has claimed responsibility for several attacks on Russian civilians - including the fatal Moscow metro and Domodedovo airport bombings, posted a video on the Kavkaz Center website calling for the Games to be stopped "by any means possible".
Despite declaring a ceasefire inside Russia last year, in the video - the authenticity of which has yet to be established independently - the nation's most wanted man adds that an order not to attack Russian targets outside the North Caucasus had been cancelled.
"They [the Russians] plan to hold the Olympics on the bones of our ancestors, on the bones of many, many dead Muslims, buried on the territory of our land on the Black Sea, and we as Mujahedeen are obliged to not permit that, using any methods allowed us by the almighty Allah," Umarov, who is known as "Russia's Osama Bin Laden", said in the video.
Security at Sochi 2014 is already under close scrutiny as the region is precariously close to Russia's volatile Muslim provinces of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, while the North Caucasus region is home to a raging Islamist insurgency, where attacks by militants fuelled by poverty and the ideology of global jihadism are a frequent occurrence.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised a safe Games and allocated a budget of more than $50 billion (£33 billion/€39 billion) to security.
"Ensuring the security of the Games in Sochi is the responsibility of the state, and was, is, and will be its matter of priority," a Sochi 2014 official told insidethegames today.
"We are confident the Games will be safe and comfortable for all as guaranteed by the Russian state."
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