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Umarov Promises New Chapter in Insurgency

Russia's most wanted Islamist militant warned that the country would be the target of a newly strengthened insurgency in a video posted on an Islamist affiliated web site on Monday.

In the 17-minute-long video Doku Umarov, who styles himself the Emir of the Caucasus, says his insurgency has been strengthened by overcoming recent divisions that saw three high-level militants split from his Caucasus Emirate last year.

"We want to assure you that our jihad is starting a new chapter, inshallah," he said wearing camouflage and an Islamic skullcap and sporting his trademark ginger beard in the video posted on Kavkaz Center web site.

"We are calling on all mujahedin in the Caucasus and in other territories so that all differences stay in the past and that all our strength, will and power is directed at attesting to the word of Allah and against our enemy."

At the end of the video Umarov embraces high-ranking militants Hussein Gakayev and Aslambek Vadalov, who had split with Umarov.

Their allegiance to Umarov will likely consolidate authority within the insurgency, which has suffered from divisions and power struggles.

"We know when we are going to die, therefore we must be ready to free our hearts and go together," he said.

Chechen-born Umarov, 47, claimed responsibility for masterminding the January suicide bombing of Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, which killed 37. He has also promised a year of "blood and tears" for Russia ahead of parliamentary elections in December and a presidential poll in 2012.

The United States has offered a $5 million reward for information leading up to the arrest of the militant.

MAKHACHKALA, Dagestan — Security forces killed three suspected militants in a gunfight in Dagestan, authorities said Sunday. One of the victims was Mekhtibek Bashirov, leader of an insurgent group in the Caspian Sea city of Derbent, said the press service of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee.

Two women said to be trained as suicide bombers were in the alleged militant safe house seized by police and the Federal Security Service officers in the town of Dagestanskiye Ogni, south of the regional capital Makhachkala, the committee said.

One woman was killed in the operation, while the other is in the hospital with gunshot wounds after surrendering to police. The committee could not immediately be reached for comment, but a local FSB spokesman confirmed the report.

"We know for sure that these women were trained as suicide bombers," the FSB spokesman said.

"Today's operation foiled possible serious terrorist attacks. … Two female suicide bombers have been disarmed," Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev told Interfax.


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