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Moscow bombings blamed on Chechnya's Black Widows

• By Miriam Elder,
Suicide squads are made up of women who have lost male relatives, usually husbands or brothers, to the conflict. The two women suspected of blowing themselves up on the Moscow metro are believed to belong to a legion of women recruited by separatist Chechen rebels, known in Russia as the Black Widows. The ominous nickname highlights the loss of male relatives – usually husbands or brothers – that push these women to commit the suicide bombings and mass hostage-takings that were a hallmark of Chechnya's earlier separatist campaigns. They gained notoriety when images of Chechen women dressed in black chadors, their waists and chests adorned with bombs, flooded Russian television screens during the three-day Moscow theatre hostage crisis in October 2002 that left 129 people dead.