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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 2, February 2011, Posted On: 1/28/2011

Russian News Says Airport Bomber May Have Trained With U.S. Videogame

Marcus Webb
video game violence, Domodedovo International Airport, Russia Today, violent video game, video game, videogame, arcade video game, suicide bombing attack, terrorism and video game, Walid Phares, Future Terrorism Project, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Infinity Ward, Activision, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, shooting video game

MOSCOW -- Russia Today, a state-run, English language TV news network, said a popular U.S.-made consumer videogame may have "influenced" the Jan. 24 suicide bombing attack on Domodedovo International Airport here that killed 35 people and injured 180.

In a theme picked up by news reports as far away as India and Australia, Russian newscasters said the attack resembled scenes from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Developed by Infinity Ward and released by Activision in 2009, the game topped $1 billion is sales. Its plot includes a terrorist massacre of civilians at a fictional Russian commercial airport.

In November 2009, Russia's legislature, the State Duma, criticized the game for depicting Russia as a sponsor of terrorism and subsequently voted to ban it. But Russia Today pointed out that the offending scenes could be viewed passively on YouTube by anyone with an Internet connection.

A leading terrorism expert from Washington, interviewed by the Russian news network, said terrorists might have used the game for training. Walid Phares, director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, called the possible links between the game and real life "troubling."

The Jan. 24 bombing may have been the work of Chechen insurgents, who have been battling Russia for 15 years. Chechens attacked Domodedovo Airport in 2004 with two suicide bombers who killed 90 people.

At presstime neither Activision nor Infinity Ward had issued a statement.

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