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Corrected: Russian FSB ‘100 percent’ sure foreign Islamists behind bombing

 RFE reports:  Vladimir Lutsenko, a colonel with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), is certain — "100 percent" — that the Minsk bombing was the work of international Islamist terrorism targeting peaceful civilians. "When they murder innocent women and children on the streets of a peaceful city, everyone is terrified and everyone is hurt," Lutsenko says. ...

ONT/AFP/Getty Images
ONT/AFP/Getty Images

 RFE reports

Vladimir Lutsenko, a colonel with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), is certain — "100 percent" — that the Minsk bombing was the work of international Islamist terrorism targeting peaceful civilians.

"When they murder innocent women and children on the streets of a peaceful city, everyone is terrified and everyone is hurt," Lutsenko says. "They blow up mosques in Iraq and Pakistan. They blow up apartment blocks in Moscow. They blow up skyscrapers in America."

Lutsenko adds that speculation that the explosion was organized either by the Belarusian authorities or by the country’s weak and fragmented political opposition is "stupid."

"They said the same thing about Moscow — that the FSB is blowing up Russia, that Putin blew up the homes of civilians in order to come to power," Lutsenko says. "We’ve heard this nonsense before and I won’t be surprised if we hear it now, too."

Obviously, unlike Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, or the United States, Belarus is not high on the global jihadist hit list. The country has no history of Islamist terrorism — though there have been two bombings by unkown parties in the last five years. Barring some compelling evidence of foreign involvement, a domestic culprit seems a lot more likely. 

Authorities say they’ve taken several people into custody. Whoever’s responsible for the blast, expect Lukashnko to take the opportunity to bolster domestic security and crack down further on the country’s already-marginal opposition movement. 

Correction: This post originally attributed Lutsenko’s comment to the Belarusian KGB, not Russia’s FSB. Apologies for the error. 

 Twitter: @joshuakeating

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