Georgia arrests 'Russian-backed' terror suspects

17th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Georgia has arrested three more suspects alleged to have collaborated with Russia to stage a series of explosions in the ex-Soviet state, the interior ministry said on Thursday.

"Three Georgian men, organisers of terrorist acts committed in 2009 and 2010 by the Russian special services in Georgia, were arrested as a result of a special operation," ministry spokesman Zura Gvenetadze told AFP.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official told AFP that the arrests were made during an operation in the Russian-backed rebel region of Abkhazia, which has not been under Georgian government control since the 1990s.

Six other people were arrested in December on suspicion of organising the blasts which took place near targets including the US embassy and the central railway station in the capital Tbilisi, leaving one person dead.

The authorities at the time described the explosions as a "terrorist campaign" commissioned and paid for by a Russian officer.

Political tensions have remained high between Georgia's pro-Western government and the Kremlin since they fought a brief war in 2008.

The December arrests came a month after Georgia claimed that it had smashed a major Russian-sponsored spy ring.

© 2011 AFP

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