Threat about Sochi attacks considered a hoax

2014-01-22 21:07
A general view of the Olympic Park in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. (Mikhail Mordasov, AFP)

A general view of the Olympic Park in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. (Mikhail Mordasov, AFP)

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Budapest - An email in Russian and English threatening national Olympic delegations and athletes with terrorist attacks at the Sochi Winter Games is a hoax, not a real danger, officials said on Wednesday.

Hungarian sports officials, who first reported the email, said they have received assurances from the International Olympic Committee and from the Sochi organisers that the email had no merit. In light of that, the Hungarian Olympic Committee said it will still take part in the Winter Games, which run from 7 February - 23 February.

Olympic committees from several other European countries, including Germany, Britain and Austria, said they had also received a similar message. None would share them with The Associated Press.

Wolfgang Eichler, spokesperson for the Austrian National Olympic Committee, said the email was a hoax that officials had seen before.

"It's a fake mail from a sender in Israel, who has been active with various threats for a few years," Eichler told Austrian news agency APA. "It's been checked out because it also arrived two years ago."

The IOC repeated its stance that it "takes security very seriously".

"[We will] pass on any credible information to the relevant security services," the IOC said in a statement. "However, 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."

Security is a major concern at all Olympics but especially in Sochi, which is in southern Russia just a few hundred kilometres away a simmering Islamic insurgency in the North Caucasus.

One Islamic militant warlord has urged his followers to attack the Sochi Olympics, Russian President Vladimir Putin's pet project.

Read more on:    sochi olympics  |  russia  |  terrorism  |  olympic games

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