Chechen Islamic rebels claim Moscow airport massacre

Moscow, Russia - The Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov has claimed responsibility for last month’s attack on Moscow airport that killed 36 people. Umarov had earlier launched a threat to Russia, stating that 2011 "will be a year of tears and blood."

"This operation was carried out on my orders," Umarov said in an online video posted late in the evening on February 7 on the Kavkaz Center website, referring to the January 24 suicide attack at the airport of Domodedovo. Umarov said he was acting in the name of Allah, and that the target of the attack was to lay the groundwork for an independent Islamic state in the North Caucasus. He also said that the action would avenge "Russian crimes” in the region, and that its purpose was to kill foreigners.

The Kremlin fought two wars against Chechen separatists in the 90s. The rebellion has taken on characteristics more closely linked to Islam, and has spread to neighbouring regions, Ingushetia and Dagestan. Umarov calls himself the leader of the 'Caucasus Emirate', and is seeking to unite the various groups in the region to create an Islamic state under Islamic law.