Latest Sochi threat treated as hoax
BUDAPEST — Threats to a string of European Olympic offices are reviving a question that has haunted preparations for the Winter Games next month: Is it safe to go to Sochi?
European Olympic authorities, whose countries have faced terrorist threats and attacks in the past, largely shrugged off the new menacing messages as a hoax, a marginal phenomenon that security experts say is common ahead of big events.
Some members of Congress aren't so sure. They say Russia isn't doing enough to assure that athletes will be protected at the Feb. 7-23 games, happening not far from an Islamic insurgency that Russia's huge security apparatus has struggled for two decades to quell.
Russia may run greater risks in towns outside the tightly controlled Olympic zone. Suicide bombs last month a few hundred miles away have increased concerns, and an Islamic warlord has urged his followers to attack the Sochi Olympics, Russian President Vladimir Putin's pet project.
The threats reported Wednesday appeared to be more anodyne.
They were first revealed by Hungarian sports officials, who announced they had received an email in Russian and English threatening Hungarian athletes with terrorist attacks.
The International Olympic Committee insisted it takes credible threats seriously, but “in this case it seems like the email sent to the Hungarian Olympic Committee contains no threat and appears to be a random message from a member of the public.”
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said he remains confident in Russia's Olympic organizers.
Talking to reporters in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, he said: “Security is always a matter of concern, not only in the Olympic Games but at every big event, whether it's sport or any other. That is unfortunately the world we are living in.
“But we are very confident and we know the Russian authorities together with their many partners internationally are doing everything to organize the games in a safe and secure way.”
The Hungarian Olympic Committee said it had received a message from the organizers of the Sochi Games saying: “Threat described in the email sent to your address is not real.”
It turned out that Olympic committees from several other European countries, including Britain, Germany, Italy and Austria, had received similar messages but hadn't publicly reported them.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Alone at controls, Germanwings co-pilot sought to ‘destroy’ the plane
- Nuke deal won’t stop Iran secret work
- Antarctica yields life in extremest of conditions, so what about on another planet?
- Iraqi troops seize key points in Tikrit
- Buhari claims historic win in Nigeria vote
- Yemen civilians bristle under bombing campaign
- Turkey prosecutor fatally shot in Istanbul courthouse hostage standoff
- Video captures Germanwings flight’s doom
- Iran nuclear discussions go past deadline
- Lufthansa: Co-pilot disclosed bout of ‘severe depression’
- U.S. to resume military aid to Egypt, but with strings