What do the “black widow” Islamist suicide bombers reported to be headed for the Winter Olympics in Sochi look like? I think back to May 2012 when a series of Islamist bombings in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, left 13 dead and over 130 injured.
Two weeks later, two suspected terrorists were cornered in a house by security forces and, after the intervention of protesters, some women carrying babies were allowed to leave the premises. The women were angry. One, who claimed both her brothers had been killed by Russian forces, said to me, “I am ready to do anything. I can blow myself up, together with all these nonbelievers.”
This week I was informed by an official in Makhachkala that the furious woman I spoke to was none other than Ruzana Ibragimova, one of the black widows desperately being sought by police after warning they had intelligence she was on her way to bomb the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Police suspect Ibragimova is already in the Olympic city, having arrived from from Dagestan earlier this month. I also met recently another woman closely associated with Islamist terrorism, “Aisha” - not her real name - a niece of Doku Umarov, the leading Chechen terrorist who has promised to wage war against the Kremlin until his country is free of Moscow rule. Russians call him “the Russian Osama bin Laden.”
Umarov has been seen so rarely in the past decade, the authorities have pronounced him dead eight times. I asked Aisha when she had last seen him. It was in a mosque in the Ingush city of Nazran more than 10 years ago, in the midst of the second Chechen war, she said. (MORE: I Met the Black Widow Suicide Bomber - Newsweek)