Man jailed for plotting Red Square bomb attack
A MAN whose plot to cause carnage on Moscow’s iconic Red Square was thwarted by a spam phone message was yesterday sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Ilyas Saidov, a member of an underground Islamist group, brought explosives-laden belts disguised as heaters for two female suicide bombers on a bus from his native Dagestan, a southern province in the Caucasus region plagued by almost daily clashes between Islamists and federal forces.
But just hours before they were to detonate the bombs on New Year’s Eve, 2010, one belt exploded as a spam message activated the mobile phone attached to the detonator. One of the women was killed and the other arrested. She was sentenced to ten years in jail in May.
Spam is a daily nuisance for many Russians buying new SIM cards, but this time the message saved thousands from harm. Red Square is a popular gathering point for Muskovites to see in the new year.
The Moscow City Court also found Saidov guilty of shooting two police officers and three civilians in Dagestan.
Saidov pleaded guilty and co-operated with investigators, giving up the leader and several members of an underground Islamist group he was part of. His testimony led to the killing of several Islamists.
Four members of the group have been convicted, and six more are currently standing trial, investigators said.
Since 2000, at least two dozen female suicide bombers, most of them from the Caucasus, have carried out terrorist attacks in Russia.
The bombers are often called “black widows” in Russia because many of them are the wives, or other relatives, of militants killed by security forces.
Islamic militants are believed to convince “black widows” that a suicide bombing will reunite them with their dead relatives beyond the grave.
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