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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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December 30th, 2013
05:16 PM ET

Olympic fears after terrorist bombings

(CNN) - Terrorism at the Olympics is always a fear – the international sports event draws millions of innocent civilians, packed into small enclosed spaces.

Now the fear is fresh after two horrific terrorist attacks in Russia, the country where athletes and crowds from 85 nations will gather in fewer than six weeks for the Winter Olympic Games.

In Volgograd Monday, investigators say a man triggered a suicide blast on a trolley bus, killing at least 14 people and injuring at least 28 others.

Investigators say there are strong indications that the bombing is tied to another in the very same city, just a day before, when another apparent suicide blast at the Volgograd train station killed at least 17 people, and injured another 35.

No one has claimed responsibility for either blast, though there are likely suspects.

Volgograd is about 600 miles south of Moscow, and about 600 miles northwest of Sochi, which is the site of the Winter Games.

Russian President Vladimir Putin assures that security will be tight, and the games will be safe. But the world stage presented by the Olympics has been hijacked in the past. During the 1972 games, Palestinian militants killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches in Munich, an attack that still casts a long shadow over the Olympics today. Then there was Atlanta in 1996, when two people died and more than 100 were wounded during the bombing of Centennial Olympic Park. Years later, anti-abortion, anti-gay domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph was caught and charged with that bombing and three others.

This year brought a painful reminder of the violence major sporting events can attract, when bombs killed three people near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April.

So the real question is, will Olympic athletes be safe after the torch is lit – along with all those who descend on Sochi to watch them?

Author of several books on Russia Amy Knight, who has been watching the ramp-up to the winter games closely, and former CIA officer and deputy assistant secretary of defense Peter Brookes, who now works with the heritage foundation, discuss.

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