MOSCOW, February 6 (RIA Novosti) – US security officials have warned airlines flying to Winter Olympics host Russia that terrorists may use toothpaste and cosmetic tubes to carry explosives to conduct terrorist attacks on the Games.
Republican Congressman Michael McCaul said Wednesday night in an interview with CNN that the Department of Homeland Security has voiced concerns that explosives could be smuggled into the Black Sea city of Sochi, where competitive events got under way Thursday.
The security advice was submitted to airlines with direct flights to Russia, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to the Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
Starting last month, Russian air transportation officials banned almost all liquids in airline carry-on luggage at all the country’s airports. The restrictions followed twin suicide bombings in the city of Volgograd that killed 34 in two separate attacks on a train station and a trolleybus in December.
The attacks came after a leading militant in the North Caucasus, Doku Umarov, called in the summer for attacks on the Sochi Olympics.
Amid the terror threats, Russia has taken unparalleled security measures in cooperation with foreign intelligence services around Sochi. The official opening ceremony for the Games is scheduled to take place Friday.
Commenting on the reports, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, who has been tasked with overseeing the Games, said law enforcement services are making every effort to ensure safety in Sochi.
“All the information we have at this moment on threats and risks allows us to say that security at the Olympics will be provided," Kozak told reporters in Sochi.
Although the main focus of security operations have been on domestic terrorist groups, the CNN report cited US officials as saying Al Qaeda-linked groups from elsewhere could take advantage of the attention being focused on Russian militants.
The concern about the use of toothpaste tubes is mostly focused on flights from Europe and neighboring Asian countries, the CNN report said.