Russia's security chief warns terrorists intend to disrupt preparations for Sochi Olympics

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's security chief warned Thursday that terrorists intend to disrupt preparations for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, according to state news agency Itar-Tass.

Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Federal Security Service, was quoted as saying the Winter Games face the same kinds of threats that led to the cancellation of the 2008 Paris-Dakar motor rally.

"We can clearly hear the intentions of various gang leaders to stage a similar scenario in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in 2014," the news agency quoted him as saying.

The Black Sea resort of Sochi is relatively close to Russia's restive North Caucasus region, from where officials say the country's chief terrorist threat emanates.

Russia has endured a spate of terrorist strikes this year including the double suicide bombing of the Moscow subway system in March that killed 40 and injured 120. Officials said the attacks were staged by Islamist militants based in the North Caucaus.

Despite the attacks, government officials have given firm security guarantees to the International Olympic Committee, which has reciprocated the vote of confidence.

"We continue to have full confidence in the Russian authorities and their ability to handle the security situation in Sochi," IOC spokesman Mark Adams told The Associated Press.

The 2008 Paris-Dakar rally was canceled for the first time in its 30-year history because of a threat of a terrorist attack. Eight of the 15 stages were to have been in Mauritania, where al-Qaida-linked militants had recently killed a family of French tourists.

The race was moved to South America in 2009.