Hungary’s Olympic Committee (MOB) said Wednesday it has received a “terrorist threat” warning it not to attend the Sochi Winter Olympics and that other countries had received similar messages.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) downplayed the emailed threat, however, saying it seemed more like a “random message from a member of the public” ahead of the February 7-23 Games in Russia.
Zsolt Borkai, MOB’s president, told Hungarian news agency MTI that it had received a “threatening email”, warning that “it would be better if the Hungarian delegation stayed at home”,
Borkai said such messages “should be taken seriously, as a terrorist threat”.
MOB’s chief secretary Bence Szabo said the committee had been informed by the IOC and organisers in Sochi that Olympic associations of other countries also received threatening messages.
The IOC said however in a statement that “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.
“The IOC takes security very seriously and pass on any credible information to the relevant security services,” it said.
Szabo told daily sports newspaper Nemzeti Sport that the MOB had informed the IOC and the Russian authorities, as well as police in Hungary. The email was both in English and Russian, he said.
The Sochi resort in Russia is at the foot of the Caucasus mountains. Islamist insurgents based in North Caucasus republics such as Dagestan are seeking their own independent state and have vowed to disrupt the Sochi Games in an effort to undermine Russia’s President Putin.
Doku Umarov, the chief of militants in the Caucasus, threatened in July to stage attacks to stop the Games from taking place.