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Putin vows revenge for Moscow airport bombing

A man lights a candle Tuesday at the Moskovsky railway station in St. Petersburg, Russia, to commemorate the victims of a suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. The sign on a poster reads “Jan. 24 terrorist act at Domodedovo airport.”

A man lights a candle Tuesday at the Moskovsky railway station in St. Petersburg, Russia, to commemorate the victims of a suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. The sign on a poster reads “Jan. 24 terrorist act at Domodedovo airport.” Photo by The Associated Press.

MOSCOW (AP) — 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 also led to a rising number of 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, with President Dmitry Medvedev criticizing police and managers at the airport, the largest of three that serve the capital.

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.

A two-second video of the blast itself, broadcast on state television and said to be from a closed-circuit TV camera, showed a burst of flames and passengers falling and fleeing as smoke filled the hall.

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 more than 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. They also have used Domodedovo Airport before, with two suicide bombers slipping through its security in 2004 to kill 90 people aboard flights that took off from there.

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

Muscovites have also seen a sharp rise in ethnic tensions between Slavic Russians and Muslims from the Caucasus, many of whom come to the capital in search of work.

In an effort to address the poverty and high unemployment that feed the insurgency, the government has made ambitious plans to promote economic development in the Caucasus, including the building of five ski resorts across the mountainous region.

Medvedev has been given the task of attracting badly needed foreign investment to Russia, a mission he will take Wednesday to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he is to be the main speaker at the opening session.

The airport bombing undermined his mission and delayed his departure for a day. Instead of schmoozing with CEOs of major global corporations, 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 nest of these bandits, however they are called, should be eliminated,” he said.

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