It's now just weeks until the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and the city's authorities are growing increasingly concerned about terror threats at the Olympics. This weekend, two men from an Islamist militant group threatened an attack on the Games, claiming during the hour-long video that "a surprise" is in store. Now, Sochi authorities are reportedly on the lookout for up to four "black widows" – women used by terrorist organizations who plan and executive attacks, often to avenge the deaths of their own husbands.
At least one of the four "black widows" could already be in Sochi. As the city prepares for the Games, authorities have put up "Wanted" posters for one woman, Ruzan Ibragimova, the 23-year-old widow of an Islamic militant killed last year by Russian forces.
"Black widows" are often utilized by militant organizations because they aren't considered typical terrorist threat, whilst having a strong personal agenda for carrying out an attack.
In Sunday's video, the two men in the tape claimed responsibility for a recent suicide bombing in Volgograd, Russia, that killed 34 people. “That which we will do, that which we have done, is only a little example, a little step,” said one of the men, from the organization Anars Al Sunna.
But it's hard to know exactly how concerned Russian authorities are. According to high-level American officials, there's been a distinct lack of co-operation between America and Russia when it comes to security for the Games.
“They’ve now moved 30,000 armed troops to the region. That tells you their level of concern is great,” Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN. “But we don’t seem to be getting all of the information we need to protect our athletes in the Games. I think this needs to change, and it should change soon.”
It's the first time in a decade that the First Family, nor any high-ranking American diplomats, aren't attending the Games' opening ceremony. This is thought to be due to opposition from the White House, and international allies to boot, about Russia's notorious anti-gay laws. Instead, Obama has nominated an American delegate that includes several LGBT members, like Billie Jean King and Brian Boitano.