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Putin: Retribution 'inevitable' for airport attack

MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vowed revenge Tuesday for the suicide bombing that killed 35 people at a Moscow airport — a familiar tough-on-terrorism stance that has underpinned his power but has not halted deadly attacks in Russia.

Lax security also was blamed for Monday's explosion in the international arrivals area of Domodedovo Airport that also injured 180 people. President Dmitry Medvedev criticized police and managers at the airport.

Putin, in a stern address to the Cabinet, vowed that "this crime will be solved and revenge is inevitable." He did not elaborate and it was unclear what new actions he could take.

Following past major attacks, Putin has used the threat of terrorism as a pretext to consolidate his control and justify new curbs on democracy and civil rights.

NTV television showed a photograph of what it said was the detached head of the suspected bomber. Investigators have said that DNA testing will be necessary before the man, who appears to be in his 30s, can be identified.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion has fallen on Islamist separatists from Chechnya or elsewhere in the restive Caucasus region who have been battling Russian authority for 15 years.

Chechen insurgents have claimed responsibility for an array of attacks, including a double suicide bombing on Moscow's subway system last year that killed 40 people.

Putin, who was president from 1999 to 2008, rose to power on a now-famous vow that Chechen rebels would be hunted down and killed "in the outhouse." But despite a second devastating war that brought Chechnya back under Moscow's control and sanctioning the violent rule of his chosen Chechen leader, Putin has been unable to wipe out the Islamic insurgency that has spread across much of the Caucasus.

A brutal crackdown on the insurgency has been followed by a backlash that has led to almost daily attacks on police and security forces in the Caucasus and brought the terror to Moscow.

Medvedev on Tuesday gave a tough speech to officials at the Federal Security Service, the main KGB successor. He suggested that some of them could have been at fault and told them to do everything possible to find those responsible.

The president also blamed the transport police, ordering the interior minister to identify officials who should be dismissed or face other sanctions. He demanded robust checks of passengers and baggage at all major transportation hubs.

The Emergencies Ministry said the dead included one person each from Britain, Germany, Austria, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan; 16 were Russians and the remaining 12 had not been identified. Nine foreigners were hospitalized.

Putin: Retribution 'inevitable' for airport attack 01/25/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:17pm]
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