Russia’s law enforcement agencies are searching for a group of suspected suicide bombers in the Moscow Region after finding out a car containing suspects in two bomb attacks on May 3 in the Russian North Caucasus republic of Dagestan was near Moscow on April 28.
Investigators fear there could be a repeat of the attack, which killed 13 and injured over 100, during the May holidays in the capital, when there will be several large political rallies, President-elect Vladimir Putin’s inauguration on May 7 and the Victory Day parade on May 9.
The VAZ 21140 series vehicle with Dagestan-region license plates was spotted by surveillance cameras on the 75th kilometer of the Don Highway to the south of Moscow, and 74 kilometers north of the capital on the Dmitrovskoye Highway, a law enforcement source told LifeNews.
The suspects are thought to be part of the “Makhachkala” gang headed by Gusein Mamayev, suspected of organizing the May 3 attacks, the source said. Dagestan's Rapid Reaction Staff said on Friday it has established the identities of four men behind the May 3 attacks, including Mamayev.
“These are the ringleader of the Makhachkala criminal group Gusein Mamayev, born 1988, and three others,” a Staff spokesman said, adding all four were attempting to recruit potential suicide bombers.
Moscow Region police named the suspects they are looking for as Marat Abakarov, Rasim Abdullayev, Ansar Adamov, Zalina Akayeva, Zalina Gabibullayeva, Tagir Gadzhiyev, Ruslan Kaznabiyev, Aminat Kubanova (Saprykina), Kurban Omarov, Magomedaliya Rashidov and Rasul Medzhidov. Aminat Kubanova is a Russian who converted to Islam and has taken a new name.
A Mitsubishi car loaded with explosives was blew up close to a police station in Makhachkala on Thursday. The blast was followed shortly by another car bomb blast timed to target law enforcement officers arriving on the scene to investigate the first attack.
A counter-terrorism operation regime was imposed in two districts of Dagestan on Saturday, a law enforcement source said.
“Search activities are underway to find the terrorist act's organizers,” the source said.
Dagestan remains a hotbed of Islamic insurgency, with rebels regularly carrying out attacks on law enforcements and civilians in the North Caucasus republic.