U.S. and European national teams headed to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, have received emailed threats of terrorist strikes on their athletes and supporters if they participate in the high-profile event that is Russian President
Although the messages received by the national Olympics offices continued to sharpen concern about security at the Games next month, the
"I am very pleased to inform everyone that both the IOC and the Sochi organizing committee ... declared after the analysis of the letter that this threat is not real," Zsigmond Nagy of the Hungarian Olympic Committee was quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.
"We have received the email in question and we have forwarded the message to the appropriate authorities," Blackmun told Reuters. "The safety and security of Team USA is our top priority."
IOC officials told reporters at the organization's Swiss headquarters that the emails had been sent from a location outside Russia by a person who previously has made empty threats.
"It's a fake mail from a sender in Israel, who has been active with various threats for a few years," Wolfgang Eichler, spokesman for the Austrian Olympic team, told his country's APA news agency.
Britain, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Slovakia also reported receiving threatening emails, the Associated Press reported.
In spite of the assurances that the latest warning was fake, tension continued to soar and fear persisted that the prestigious competition could be targeted by the region's Islamic insurgents.
A 40,000-strong army of Russian security troops has deployed across the Olympic venues, from the seaside indoor arenas and accommodations at Sochi to the mountain sports competition areas almost 40 miles away. Wanted posters depicting several widows of slain Caucasus independence fighters have been circulated to hotels to alert hospitality industry workers to be on the lookout for the women suspected of being part of suicide-
Putin and President
At a meeting Tuesday in Brussels, Russian military Chief of Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov and U.S.
"The U.S. would share technical information on the counter-IED [improvised explosive device] efforts … and if it is compatible with Russian equipment, we will look to provide that information to Russia in time for the Games," the
But the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, Vyacheslav Nikonov, told the Moscow Times that he was skeptical that Russian and U.S. authorities could overcome their mutual distrust enough to cooperate effectively in sharing technology to deter threats.
Nikonov pointed to last year's bombings at the
The bombing, which killed three people and injured scores, was allegedly carried out by ethnic Chechen brothers