UK & World News

  • 22 January 2014, 18:30

Sochi Olympic Teams Receive 'Terror Threats'

A number of countries say they have received terrorist threats against their athletes ahead of the Winter Olympics in Russia.

Britain, Italy, Germany and Hungary are among countries whose Olympic Committees have confirmed they have received threatening emails.

Statements suggested that some or all of the committees may have received the same message - warning of attacks against competitors or delegates if they travel to the games in Sochi.

The British Olympic Association and the International Olympic Committee described the email threat as "not credible". 

Hungary said the messages it received had also been investigated and declared "non-threatening".

Germany said it had received the same emails as Hungary and believed the same message had been circulated widely.

Slovenia's Olympic Committee also said it had been sent a terrorist threat letter written in Russian.

"We've had it translated and have forwarded it to the police," spokesman Brane Dmitrovic told Reuters.

German Olympic Committee spokesman Christian Klaue said: "We take all tips on security questions seriously and are in close contact with the relevant German authorities."

The Hungarian committee's international relations director Zsigmond Nagy said a letter written in Russian and English had been investigated by both the International Olympic Committee and the Russian organising committee.

He said: "Both the IOC and the Sochi organising committee ... officially declared after the analysis of the letter that this threat is not real, and this person has been sending all kinds of messages to many members of the Olympic family."

Sky News Sports Correspondent Paul Kelso said: "The British Olympic Association say they've shown the message to their security experts and they don't think it's credible.

"That's also the message that's coming from the International Olympic Committee based in Switzerland and they're saying that it seems to be the same communication that's gone to a number of big Olympic organisations across Europe.

"What it does tell us is that the level of twitchiness about security is incredibly high. The games start on February 7 and the security situation in Russia is pretty volatile."

The suspected threats come after Russian security officials said they were hunting three potential female suicide bombers ahead of the games.

One of the suspects, 22-year-old Ruzanna Ibragimova - the widow of a suicide bomber - was reported to be at large in Sochi itself.

The other two suspects were identified as Zaira Aliyeva, 26, and Dzhannet Tsakhayeva, 34.

Police information states that all three women have been trained "to perpetrate acts of terrorism".

Last month, the southern city of Volgograd was rocked by two suicide bombings, which killed 34 and injured dozens more.

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