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Monday, August 30, 2004

Russian Plane Crashes: Links Between Two Chechen Women Grows

Update on the terrorists in Russia. Found at Jihad Watch
MOSCOW (AP) -- They lived in the same apartment in Chechnya, worked in the same market and may have died within moments of each other on separate airliners that crashed in Russia last week.

New details emerged Monday about the two Chechen women who are the focus of suspicion that the planes were blown up by terrorists.

Russian investigators continued piecing together information about the Tuesday crashes that killed a total of 90 people. Gen. Andrei Fetisov, chief of the scientific department at the Federal Security Service, said investigators are certain there were explosions on both planes and reiterated that traces of the high explosive hexogen were found in the wreckage.

How the explosive may have been brought on board the planes that took off from Moscow is still unclear, and investigators were scraping for clues about Amanta Nagayeva and S. Dzhebirkhanova, two Chechen women whose names were listed on tickets for the flights.

The crashes happened just five days before presidential elections in Chechnya, where separatist rebels have been fighting Russian forces for five years. Officials had warned that insurgents and their supporters could commit terrorist acts to try to undermine the vote.

Nagayeva, 30, and Dzhebirkhanova, 37, aroused accident investigators' suspicions because they purchased tickets at the last minute - and because they were the only victims about whom no relatives inquired after news of the crashes.

At the same time, the women's bodies have not yet been identified. Officials were considering two scenarios: Either Nagayeva and Dzhebirkhanova were indeed suicide bombers, or their passports were used by other women, the newspaper Izvestia reported, citing Chechen law enforcement officials.

Nagayeva and Dzhebirkhanova, who lived in an apartment in Grozny, Chechnya's war-shattered capital, were seen on Aug. 22 leaving by bus from the town of Khasavyurt in the neighboring province of Dagestan, the newspaper said. They were believed to be en route to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, where they often bought clothes and other commodities to sell at the Grozny market.

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