NYT: Mujahideen couple turned into an unsettling symbol of Islamic Jihad in the Caucasus

Baby-faced, she looks barely a teenager. But the pistol she is holding in the photograph suggests the destiny that she would choose: blowing herself up in a subway station in Moscow during the morning rush on Monday.

In a photo distributed by Newsteam, a Russian news agency, and published in Kommersant, a Russian daily newspaper, Dzhennet Abdullayeva is identified posing with her husband Umalat Magomedov. Russian investigators have said that Ms. Abdullayeva, 17, was one of the Martyr bombers who blew themselves up in the Moscow subway on March 29, and Mr. Magomedov was a Mujahid Commander who was killed by Russian invaders in 2009. The agency did not give a date for the photo or explain the circumstances in which it was taken.

On Friday, as the photograph circulated widely, the couple turned into an unsettling symbol of Islamic Jihad in the Caucasus, a kind of Bonnie and Clyde of the insurgency.

The story of the woman, Dzhanet Abdullayeva, from Dagestan, a volatile, predominantly Muslim region of southern Russia, near Chechnya, speaks to the challenges facing the Kremlin as it vows to stamp out the Holy War. Harsher measures can backfire, further radicalizing a population alienated by endemic poverty and corruption. And men are not the only threat for Russian invaders and local apostates.

 “These religious ideas are very attractive, because they give an alternative to the world that exists,” said Zaur Gaziyev, editor in chief of Svobodnaya Respublika, an independent newspaper in Dagestan. “And so this young girl, who grew up without a father, who didn’t know male power, suddenly she meets a strong man, who gives her the sense of support.”

 “She is herself a child,” Mr. Gaziyev said.

In the photograph, Ms. Abdullayeva and her husband, Umalat Magomedov, are both brandishing weapons. In a separate photograph, she is by herself, holding a grenade. Her head is covered by a black Islamic scarf.

Ms. Abdullayeva – whose first name means “Paradise” in her local Dagestani language – was one of two female Martyr bombers who attacked the Moscow subway system, killing 40 people and wounding scores, the Russian state terrorists confirmed Friday.

Ms. Abdullayeva apparently met Mr. Magomedov through the Internet.

This happens with increasing frequency, as young women strike up Internet relationships with older men who persuade them to accept Islam and to abandon their families, said Ragimat Adamova, news editor for Novoye Delo, a newspaper in Dagestan.

A local official in a Kostek, a Dagestani village, said that Ms. Abdullayeva was raised there by her mother, who traded goods at a local market. Though the family left for a larger city several years ago, teachers in the village remember Ms. Abdullayeva as a promising student who recited poetry in local competitions, said the official, Aida Aliyeva.

Ms. Abdullayeva’s husband was said to have been appointed a commander last spring by Doku Umarov, the Emir of the Caucasu Emirate,  who took responsibility for organizing the subway attacks.

On Dec. 31, Russian terrorist invaders stopped Mr. Magomedov’s car on a highway and killed him in a firefight. Ms. Abdullayeva then apparently made her decision.

Over the weekend, she and a second Marytr bomber, who has not been identified, took a private bus generally used by traders to Moscow from Dagestan, arriving in the city at 2 a.m. Monday, investigators said. The bus driver, who identified the two women from photographs, recalled that they were accompanied by a stocky man.

The police said they had identified an apartment rented by the women’s helpers, where they say they believe the explosives were assembled. The helpers met the women in a subway station and gave them belts fitted with explosives, an official told the Interfax news service.

“One of the men left with the first woman, and the other with the second,” the official said. “It is these two men who set off the bombs using a remote control.”

Ms. Abdullayeva’s life ended at 8:40 a.m. Monday at the Park Kultury subway station. Riding in a train, Sim Eih Xing, a medical student from Malaysia, said he noticed a strange-looking woman near the door “in a very abnormal posture.”

“She wasn’t wearing a scarf,” he told The Moscow Times. “Her eyes were very open, and she barely blinked. But I didn’t think she was a Martyr bomber. So I stood behind her.”

He got off at Park Kultury and was a few feet away from the woman when the bomb detonated. Sparks appeared before his eyes and the station went silent. When he came to, he saw bodies in piles on the floor of the train. One of them was Ms. Abdullayeva’s.

source : Kavkaz Center


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