Four detained on suspicion of involvement in Domodedovo terrorist act

Russia’s Investigative Committee reports four suspects apparently involved in the terrorist act at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, which claimed the lives of 36 people, have been detained in the Russian republic of Ingushetia.

On Wednesday  three of them, Umar Aushev, Fatima and Ahmed Evloev, have been accused of terrorism, murder and the illegal purchasing and keeping of weapons and explosives. They are expected to be transferred to Moscow for questioning.

Sixteen-year-old Fatima and 23-year-old Ahmed Evloev have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the terrorist act at the airport, as traces of high explosive were found on their hands. They are said to be Magomed Evloev’s sibling and suspected of having known about the planned attack, but not reporting it to the police. There is some confusion in the media as to which sibling is older, but their identities and relationship have been confirmed.  Security forces took blood samples from the family members shortly after the attack, when investigators received preliminary information on who may have carried out the blast.

Umar Aushev, 23, is the third person arrested on suspicion of involvement in organizing the blast. Investigators suspect that Aushev, who is a resident of the same village of Ali-Yurt in Ingushetia, could have accompanied Magomed Evloev on his way to Moscow.

All three have been initially detained for two months.

Meanwhile, according to DNA test results released on Wednesday confirm that suspected suicide bomber Magomed Evloev detonated the bomb at Domodedovo.

Earlier, another suspect, 20-year-old Adam Ganzhiev, was also detained. However investigators concede the possibility that he is not a member of a terrorist group. He is presently reported to be in detention, as his arrest was prolonged for another 72 hours. According to the investigation, Ganzhiev gave Magomed Evloev a lift from Ali-Yurt to another settlement. It is still unknown as to whether he knew about Evloev’s intention or just helped his neighbor, as is common in the Caucasus.

On February 2, another four suspects were arrested. Russia’s top security forces reported to the country’s lawmakers on Tuesday that there is a manhunt for a group for up to seven people who are believed to have organized the attack. But the Investigative Committee is now withholding all the details for the benefit of the investigation.

Russia’s most-wanted terrorist, Doku Umarov, has claimed he was the mastermind behind the attack. A video was posted on an extremist website. Another message in which he promises the country a year of “blood and tears” was posted a few days earlier. In this video Umarov is accompanied by two men. Investigators say one of them looks like Magomed Evloev, but this information is yet to be confirmed.

Russia’s security forces are saying they are looking into those claims, but they remain quite skeptical, as it might not have been Umarov directly in charge of the blast. They say there are many autonomous terrorist cells operating at the North Caucasus which may not be directly linked to Umarov. He is just one of the possibilities being considered.

The attack, in the arrivals hall at one of Moscow’s international airports, Domodedovo, on January 24, killed 36 and injured over 180 people.