MOSCOW -- A radical Islamist group operating clandestinely in Russia's North Caucasus took responsibility Sunday for the two suicide bombings that rocked the industrial center of Volgograd late last year.
Ansar al Sunna posted a 50-minute video on the extremist website Vilayat Dagestan that showed two young men -- called Suleiman and Abdurakhim in the video credits -- allegedly preparing to carry out the attacks.
Dressed in black T-shirts with Kalashnikov rifles in their hands, the two sit praying in front of a black flag with white letters in Arabic. They also explain in Russian their motives for taking part in the attack.
The last seconds of the video feature photographs from the Dec. 29 explosion at the Volgograd railway station and a Dec. 30 explosion on a trolley bus. Together, the bombings claimed 34 lives and left dozens injured.
The same website carried a statement by an Ansar Al Sunna commander who took responsibility for the two attacks, which occurred about 400 miles north of Sochi, where the Winter Olympics begin next month.
The statement said that the two attacks were just a beginning and that more will follow until Russia pulls out of the Caucasus region and allows it to secede.
“Your troops invaded our lands, we deployed ours with a response visit,” the statement said. “Each one of our warriors is waiting for the commander's order to explode your calm the way it was in Volgograd. It is in your interests to … immediately withdraw from the lands of the Caucasus.”