WASHINGTON (CN) – President Obama condemned the “outrageous acts” of two female suicide bombers who attacked the Moscow subway system on Monday killing 39, saying the United States joins Russia “in opposition to violent extremism and heinous terrorist attacks that demonstrate such disregard for human life.”
The attack ignites the conflict between Russia and the impoverished Sunni Muslim Chechnya region in Caucasus, where militants are fighting for a separate Islamic state. Russian leaders including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and former President Boris Yeltsin have launched massive campaigns to crack down on the militants over the past few decades. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called Chechnya Russia’s “greatest internal political issue.”
Russian police killed several rebel leaders in the region recently. The leaders have ties to al-Qaeda and have relied on the terrorist group’support. Last month, a Chechen Islamic militant leader issued a warning to Russians that “war is coming to their cities.”
“This brutal assault on innocent civilians is another reminder that terrorism is a threat to peace-loving people everywhere,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
Clinton, who is currently in Ontario, Canada for G8 summit talks on global security, said, “Together with our G8 partners, we will discuss how to further strengthen international counterterrorism coordination and cooperation.”
In response to the attacks, the Metro subway system in Washington, D.C., ramped up transit police and bomb-sniffing dogs. Metro said the “high visibility patrols” will remain in place at least until the end of a Nuclear Security Summit scheduled for April 12-13.