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Europe nations get Sochi death threat

- Olympic chiefs: No danger from letters

Budapest, Jan. 22 (Reuters): At least five European countries’ Olympic committees received letters in Russian today making a “terrorist threat” before the Sochi Games, but Olympic chiefs said they posed no danger.

Despite the assurances, the letters to committees in Italy, Hungary, Germany, Slovenia and Slovakia briefly caused alarm and underlined nervousness over security at the $50-billion event on which Russian President Vladimir Putin's legacy may depend.

Suicide bombers killed at least 34 people in a southern city last month, Islamist militants have threatened to attack the Winter Games and security forces are hunting a woman suspected of planning a suicide bombing and of being in Sochi already.

“I am very pleased to inform everyone that both the IOC and the Sochi organising committee ... declared after the analysis of the letter that this threat is not real,” Zsigmond Nagy, director of international relations at the Hungarian Olympic Committee, told Reuters. He said “this person has been sending all kinds of messages to many members of the Olympic family”.

The letter, he said, threatened Hungarian nationals, competitors and officials, saying that “persons attending the Olympic Games might be blown up”.

Nagy also quoted IOC officials saying the letters had been sent by someone living outside Russia who had carried out such hoaxes before, but did not identify the person.

“This threat is not a real one and there is nothing to worry about,” he said.

Black widows

Russia and the US are working “hand-in-hand” to protect next month’s games in Sochi after police revealed that they were hunting for three potential “black widow” suicide bombers, one of whom is suspected to have breached the city’s huge security ring.

 
 
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