Russia says 20 banned Islamists held after Moscow sweep

20th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

Russian police said Tuesday they had detained 20 members of banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir in Moscow, the latest arrests of alleged Islamists after the start of the Kremlin's bombing campaign in Syria.

"Around one hundred people suspected of illegal activities were checked over the past 24 hours and 20 of them were detained as members of Hizb ut-Tahrir," the interior ministry said.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) seeks to re-establish a caliphate -- a pan-Islamic state based on Islamic rule harking back to the mediaeval era -- and has been banned in Russia since 2003.

The group has been pursued with particular vigour in the Muslim but highly secular ex-Soviet Central Asian countries.

In Russia, the group has been active in the North Caucasus as well as in the mainly-Muslim Volga regions of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan.

Russian security services claim to have thwarted several planned attacks since September 30 when Moscow launched a bombing campaign in Syria targeting Islamic State jihadists and other "terrorist" groups.

Russia -- which has fought its own Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus -- says some 2,000 of its citizens are fighting with IS.

Earlier this month, Russia's FSB security service said it had detained a group of people, some of whom had trained with IS, in Moscow and seized bomb materials they were planning to use to attack the capital's busy transport system.

© 2015 AFP

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