US Warns Russia of ‘Toothpaste Bombs’ Ahead of 2014 Sochi Olympics
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 7, 2014 4:35 PM EST
Authorities from the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee has warned all international airlines to take necessary precautions, following reports that terrorist groups have concocted explosives disguised as toothpaste bombs on flights bound for Russia.
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics will begin on Friday in the troubled region of southern Russia.
"Out of an abundance of caution, [Department of Homeland Security] regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics," DHS said in a statement.
"While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority."
But the Russians are not pleased. Dmitry Kozak, Russia's deputy prime minister, said the announcement has again been blown out of proportion to suggest that Sochi isn't a safe place.
"The level of fear should be lower," Mr Kozak said, "The level of threat in Sochi is no worse than in New York, Washington, or Boston."
Russia in January has banned airlines to allow passengers carrying liquids and gels on planes heading into Sochi.
"I have some confidence in what the Russians are doing but really not enough," Peter King, a Republican congressman and member of the homeland security committee, told CNN.
He added the Russian intelligence authorities were not as cooperative ahead of the games.
Around 65 heads of state and government and international organisations are expected to attend Russia's first Winter Olympics, Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of the Sochi organising committee, told the IOC earlier.
Even U.S. President Obama won't be attending the games. Although he doesn't discourage the Americans from attending to support their country, he advised them to be always on guard.
"I believe that Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings. I'm always going to feel even better if it's inside the United States because then we have full control over what happens," the president said.
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