Russia Probes Caucasus Link to Airport Terror

President Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday that clear breaches in security had allowed a suspected female suicide bomber linked to Russia's Northern Caucasus to slaughter 35 people at Moscow's main airport.

In comments broadcast on national television, Medvedev demanded answers from Domodedovo airport over how it let the bomber wander into arrivals and set off a charge just as passengers from several international flights were arriving.

The blast represented a major setback for Russia's international image and confidence in its security as it gears up to hold two major sporting events: the Winter Olympics in 2014 and the 2018 World Cup.

Sources told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency that the attack bore all the hallmarks of militants from the overwhelmingly Muslim Caucasus region who have been behind a string of attacks in the Russian capital over the last years.

The bomber may have been a woman, the agency said, although initial reports had said it was a man in his 30s.

The blast, which caused carnage at Domodedovo, put the country on high alert and saw Russia receive an outpouring of support from Western capitals as well as the United Nations and NATO.

"Based on (the bomb's) location and other indirect evidence, this was a well-planed act of terror that aimed to kill as many people as possible," Medvedev said.

But the Kremlin chief faulted airport security and said that Domodedovo's executives would be held accountable for lapses that facilitated the attack.