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Israeli leaders reach out to Putin after Volgograd bombings

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s leaders sent condolence letters to Russian President Vladimir Putin following two terrorist attacks in Volgograd.

The suicide bombings Sunday in the city’s main rail station and on Monday on a public bus left at least 31 dead and dozens wounded.

“These despicable attacks serve as a painful reminder of the urgent need for all peace-seeking nations to join forces in a united and concerted effort to eradicate the dangerous scourge of terrorism,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in his letter, sent Monday. “I have no doubt that the citizens of Volgograd will continue to demonstrate the resilience, resolve and courage for which their city is renowned.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres also sent a condolence letter.

“My heart goes out to those who have been affected by previous attacks which have recently afflicted Russia,” he wrote. “I cannot but strongly condemn attacks on innocent people by terrorists who are driven by hate and a thirst for destruction.”

Police believe the two bombings were linked since both bombs were packed with the same kind of shrapnel, according to Reuters. There has been no claim of responsibility.

The attacks are seen as a threat on the upcoming Winter Olympics, which are set to be held in Sochi, located on the Black Sea, about 450 miles southwest of Volgograd. The Olympics begin on Feb. 7. Putin has ordered security stepped up throughout the country.

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