Russia breaks up cell of banned militants in Dagestan
Russian security forces raided hideouts of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist group in the Caucasus region of Dagestan, arresting 52 of its members and seizing suspected explosives, the interior ministry said Tuesday.
Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) seeks to re-establish a Caliphate — a pan-Islamic state based on Islamic rule harking to the medieval era — and has been banned in Russia since 2003.
The interior ministry said in a statement that the cell in the main Dagestan city of Makhachkala had been “liquidated” and that grenades, electric shock devices and a large amount of extremist literature had been confiscated.
It said a suspected homemade bomb of 1.3 kilogrammes (nearly three pounds) of TNT equivalent had also been seized. Forty-seven different addresses were raided in the operation, which took place Monday.
It said 52 people were arrested, including three suspected leaders of the group. Also detained was a Kyrgyz national described as an “international emissary” of the group.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in many countries and is pursued with particular vigour in the Muslim but highly secular ex-Soviet Central Asian states.
In Russia, the group has been active in the Northern Caucasus as well as in the mainly Muslim Volga regions of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan.