A “Black Widow” suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year’s Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources.
The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt on a busy square near Red Square on New Year’s Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.
Security sources believe a spam message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her but nobody else.
She was at her Moscow safe house at the time getting ready with two accomplices, both of whom survived and were seen fleeing the scene.
Islamist terrorists in Russia often use cheap unused mobile phones as detonators. The bomber’s handler, who is usually watching their charge, sends the bomber a text message in order to set off his or her explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties.
The phones are usually kept switched off until the very last minute but in this case, Russian security sources believe, the terrorists were careless.