Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999 - Russia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism|
|Publication Date||1 April 2000|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999 - Russia, 1 April 2000, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/468107471.html [accessed 31 March 2015]|
In the fall a series of bombings in Russian cities claimed hundreds of victims and raised concern about terrorism in the Russian Federation. On 4 September a truck bomb exploded in front of an apartment complex at a Russian military base in Buynaksk, Dagestan, killing 62 persons and wounding 174. Authorities discovered a second bomb on the base the same day and disarmed it before it caused further casualties. On 8 and 13 September powerful explosions demolished two Moscow apartment buildings, killing more than 200 persons and wounding 200 others. The two Moscow incidents were similar, with explosive materials placed in rented facilities on the ground floor of each building and detonated by timing devices in the early morning. The string of bomb attacks continued when a car bomb exploded in the southern Russian city of Volgodonsk on 16 September, killing 17 persons and wounding more than 500 others.
A caller to Russian authorities claimed responsibility for the Moscow bombings on behalf of the previously unknown "Dagestan Liberation Army," but no claims were made for the incidents in Buynaksk and Volgodonsk. Russian police suspected insurgent groups from Chechnya and Dagestan conducted the bombings at the behest of Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev and the mujahidin leader known as Ibn al-Khattab, although Russian authorities did not release evidence to confirm their suspicions. Russian authorities arrested eight individuals and issued warrants for nine others believed to be hiding in Chechnya but presented no evidence linking Chechen separatists to the bombings.
In response to the apartment building bombings and to an armed incursion by Basayev and Khattab into Dagestan from Chechnya, Russian troops entered Chechnya in October in a campaign to eliminate "foreign terrorists" from the North Caucasus. The forces fighting the Russian army were mostly ethnic Chechens and supporters from other regions of Russia. They received some support from foreign mujahidin with extensive links to Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Central Asian Islamist extremists, as well as to Usama Bin Ladin. At yearend, Chechen militant activity had been localized in the North Caucasus region, but Russia and Chechnya's neighboring states feared increased radicalization of Islamist populations would encourage violence and spread instability elsewhere in Russia and beyond.
There were few violent political acts against the United States in Russia during the year. Anti-NATO sentiment during the Kosovo campaign sparked an attack on the US Embassy in Moscow in late March when a protester unsuccessfully attempted to launch a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the facility. The perpetrator sprayed the front of the building with machinegun fire after he failed to launch the RPG. At yearend no progress had been made in identifying or apprehending the assailant.