The file photo shows a suspect being detained by officers from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
Russia’s media say the domestic security service has arrested 10 suspected members of a terrorist group who were plotting attacks in the two main cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
agencies reported on Saturday that those detained were from Central Asia and that the governments of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan helped the Federal Security Service (FSB) in the operation.
“The FSB with support from the interior ministry and cooperation with foreign partners from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has stopped activities of an inter-regional terrorist group,” Russian Tass news agency quoted a statement from the FSB.
The statement said the 10 were linked to Daesh, a Takfiri group based in Iraq and Syria. It added that homemade bombs and firearms were seized from the suspects and they admitted to having contact with leaders of Daesh. It said the terrorists, who were arrested in two separate raids in Moscow and St. Petersburg planned attacks “with the purpose of killing civilians in crowded places.”
Russia has been assisting the Syrian army in the fight against Daesh in eastern Syria while it also provides intelligence to Baghdad in its current fight against terrorists in northern Iraq.
action in Syria has faced massive criticism from the West. Moscow defends the action as a way of repelling any potential attack on Russia by nationals who have been fighting within the ranks of Daesh and could return home one day. Thousands are estimated to have travelled from Russia to Iraq and Syria to join Daesh and other terror groups. Intelligence services say most of those militants are from Ferghana Valley, a fertile and densely populated strip of land straddling Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.