MOSCOW -- A senior Russian official on Monday revealed the thwarting of a possible attack before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, saying female suicide bombers had planned to smuggle explosives onto an aircraft in hand cream.
Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov, who has responsibility for counter-terrorism, said the suspected attackers were detained in Austria and France.
"The female suicide bombers who were in France had plans showing where they were supposed to put the explosives," Russian news agencies quoted him saying during an appearance before the upper house of Russia's parliament. "Their explosives were in hand cream."
The reports didn't specify where the suspects were when they were detained or whether they were trying to board a flight.
Syromolotov, a veteran of Russia's FSB security service who took up his Foreign Ministry post this year, stressed that international security cooperation had helped to keep the Sochi Olympics safe.
His appearance Monday followed the deadly attacks in Paris and came as Moscow has been urging the West to join forces with Russia in the fight against international terrorism.
The Olympic Games in Sochi, a Black Sea resort in southern Russia, were held amid high concern that insurgents from nearby restive Caucasus republics, including Chechnya and Dagestan, were planning attacks. Russia imposed exceptionally heavy security measures that were nicknamed the "ring of steel" around Sochi.
FSB director Nikolai Bortnikov said in July that many countries had helped to prevent an array of attacks at the Olympics, primarily Austria, France, Germany, Georgia and the U.S. But no details were given.
Last year, Russian security officials were hunting down "several" potential female suicide bombers ahead of the Sochi Olympics. CBS News confirmed eyewitness accounts from Sochi that police left posters and leaflets about the potential suicide bombers in the area of the Olympic venues. A police letter said that one of them, Ruzanna Ibragimova, a 22-year-old widow of an Islamic militant, was at large in Sochi.
CBS News national security analyst Juan Zarate noted that Chechen rebels are famous for using "black widows" - widows of fighters who become suicide attackers. Zarate pointed out that women brought down two airliners in 2004 (one, ironically, was headed to Sochi) and a woman is believed to have been involved in a bombing attack in the southern Russian city of Volgograd that killed more than 30 people.