Image: People lay flowers at the site of a blast at Domodedovo airport near Moscow
Sergey Ponomarev  /  AP file
People lay flowers at the site of a blast at Domodedovo airport near Moscow on Tuesday, Jan. 25, as others wait for a security check to enter.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 2/9/2011 6:42:08 AM ET 2011-02-09T11:42:08

Russian authorities named the suicide bomber who targeted Moscow's airport and arrested his teenage brother and sister, an official said Wednesday.

The Jan. 24 bombing of Domodedovo airport was conducted by 20-year-old Magomed Yevloyev, said an official working with Russia's top investigative agency in the province of Ingushetia. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the issue.

Video: Moscow suicide bomber: 'I'll kill you all' (on this page)

Officials have previously said that the bomber was a 20-year-old man from the Caucasus, but didn't give his name.

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Chechen rebel warlord Doku Umarov has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 36 and injured more than 180.

A court in Ingushetia's provincial capital, Magas, also ordered the arrest of Yevloyev's 15-year-old brother and 16-year old sister, suspected of involvement in the attack, the official said. They also arrested another resident of Yevloyev's home village of Ali-Yurt on the same charges.

The Itar-Tass news agency named the brother as Akhmed and sister as Fatima Yevloyev.

Story: Islamist rebel says he ordered Russian airport bombing

A respected human rights activist from Ingushetia condemned the arrest of the underage suspects. "This is absurd and savage — to arrest people only because they are relatives of a suspected terrorist," Magomed Khazbiyev told the daily Kommersant.

ITAR-Tass reported Wednesday, however, that the investigators had found traces of explosives used in the airport bombing on the hands of Yevloyev's arrested brother.

Umarov said in a video posted Monday that he ordered the airport bombing and that many more such attacks will follow if Russia does not allow the Caucasus to become an independent Islamic state governed by Shariah law.

In another video released over the weekend Umarov appeared with a young man whom he said was being sent to Moscow on a suicide mission. No mention was made of the airport bombing, and it was unclear when the video was made. Kommersant quoted a local imam as saying that the man in the video closely resembled Yevloyev.

Video: Moscow airport blast, Russia on high alert (on this page)

Umarov has claimed responsibility for an array of terrorist attacks, including last year's double suicide bombing of the Moscow subway system that killed 40 people. He is seen more as an ideological than a military figure, as many militant cells operate autonomously and shun centralized command.

Some observers have questioned Umarov's claim.

Ben West, an analyst at Stratfor, a global intelligence analysis company, said in a written comment that Umarov could have claimed the attack to boost his profile after a fallout with other rebel leaders last fall. Russian officials have said that militants in Chechnya are linked to al-Qaida and other foreign terror groups and depend on them for funding.

Video: Terror expert: Blast targeted foreigners (on this page)

West said that Umarov has not had any known links to the militants in Ingushetia, which raises doubts about his claim of responsibility.

Chechen rebels have fought two separatist wars against Russian forces since 1994. Major offensives in the second war died down about a decade ago, but the Islamic insurgency has spread across neighboring North Caucasus provinces, stoked by poverty, official corruption and abuses against civilians by security forces.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Moscow suicide bomber: 'I'll kill you all'

  1. Transcript of: Moscow suicide bomber: 'I'll kill you all'

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Overseas tonight more than 30 people are dead, more than 150 injured after a massive suicide bombing attack in one of the busiest airports in all of Europe , in Moscow . Officials say a male suicide bomber walked into the international arrivals terminal and set off an enormous explosion. And the pictures out of there tonight are tough to watch. Our chief foreign correspondent Andrea Mitchell has more on the attack and who may be responsible.

    ANDREA MITCHELL reporting: The crowded baggage area looked like a battlefield amidst a gruesome mix of shrapnel, blood and body parts, the injured on gurneys, after at least one suicide bomber set off the bomb with the equivalent of 15 pounds of TNT . Security was light. An eyewitnesses saw a man walk in with a suitcase and shout, 'I'll kill you all.'

    Mr. ARTYOM ZHILINKOV (Eyewitness): I just raised my head and here came the blast. There were many cries and somebody made a shout, starting with the sound "Ah," and this was followed by the explosion. I saw the suitcase, the suitcase was on fire.

    Unidentified Man: Terrible. I never wish I'd seen it.

    Unidentified Reporter: Are you frightened now?

    Man: No, but I'm very shocked.

    MITCHELL: Officials quickly cordoned off the scene reports NBC 's Yonatan Pomrenze from the terminal.

    YONATAN POMRENZE reporting: Just hours after this horrific attack here, the airport is functioning and back on its feet, but it will take longer to heal the personal pain and restore Russian stability, shaken hard by this attack on Moscow 's busiest airport .

    MITCHELL: Russia 's President Dmitry Medvedev went on television to offer reassurance.

    President DMITRY MEDVEDEV: We can take all steps in conducting this investigation so that we get information fast so that we can pursue the investigation, so to speak, while the trail is still warm.

    MITCHELL: And on Twitter , Medvedev promised, "Security will be tightened at all of Russia 's airports and major transport hubs." Terrorism experts immediately suspected rebels from the Russian province of Chechnya , believed responsible for a trail of other attacks, including the bombing of Moscow 's subway last March, attacks on two express trains in November of 2009 , and in 2004 the suicide bombings of two passenger planes midair by two female terrorists who boarded from this same airport.

    Mr. ROGER CRESSEY (NBC News Terrorism Analyst): It seems like this is consistent with previous Chechnyan attacks, looking to kill as many people as possible and, in the process, embarrass the Medvedev government.

    MITCHELL: Reportedly among the 35 dead, two Britons; so far no Americans are known to have died. Experts say today's attack could lead to a greater crackdown in Russia , if only to ease international concerns about security in that country as it plans to host two major events, the 2014 Winter Olympics and the World Cup four years later. Brian :

    WILLIAMS: Particularly troubling because it was the part of the airport where you go to pick people up who've arrived and don't have to pass through security, of course. Andrea Mitchell in our Washington newsroom. Andrea ,

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