For the second time in as many days, an explosion rocked the Russian city of Volgograd Monday morning. Russian officials say a suicide bomber blew himself up on a trolleybus, killing at least 14 people and wounding nearly 30 others. The latest attack came one day after at least 17 people died in a suicide bombing at the city’s central rail station.
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The explosion ripped away much of the bus’s exterior and broke windows in nearby buildings. The BBC reported that the explosion took place near a market in the city’s Dzerzhinsky district. It virtually paralyzed public transport in the city, forcing many residents to walk long distances to get to work.
Volgograd, a city of 1 million people formerly known as Stalingrad during the Soviet era, is located approximately 425 miles due northeast of the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, site of next February’s winter Olympics. Opening Ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Games are just 39 days away. Both cities are located near the unstable North Caucasus region, where Islamic insurgents have waged a campaign of violence against rule from Moscow for the better part of two decades.
The latest attacks will undoubtedly heighten fears by Russian officials that militant groups could step up the violence with the attention of much of the world expected to be on Sochi for the Olympic Games.
In a statement to Reuters, an IOC spokeswoman said. "Our condolences go to all those affected by today’s bombing in Volgograd. Unfortunately, terrorism is a global phenomenon and no region is exempt, which is why security at the Games is a top priority for the IOC. At the Olympics, security is the responsibility of the local authorities, and we have no doubt that the Russian authorities will be up to the task."
Russian Olympic Committee chief Alexander Zhukov said Monday there was no need to take any extra steps to secure Sochi in the wake of the Volgograd bombings, as "everything necessary already has been done."