NIZHNY NOVGOROD, May 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russian police said Tuesday that three members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic movement outlawed as terrorist in Russia and much of Central Asia, have been detained for preparing a series of attacks in the Nizhny Novgorod region.
“Investigators discovered evidence that the three members of the cell (all citizens of Tajikistan) had committed intentional acts directly aimed at the procurement and preparation of means and weapons to carry out a series of terrorist attacks,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
According to the Washington-based think tank The Heritage Foundation, Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, also known as the Islamic Liberation Party, has “5,000 to 10,000 hard-core members” and is an “emerging threat to US interests in Central Asia.”
However, the organization is not on the US State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, and it is not classified as a terrorist organization by the EU. But it was banned in Bangladesh in 2009, and in recent years hundreds have been arrested in Turkey in connection with the group.
Russian police said the group actively recruited members in the Nizhny Novgorod region to commit acts against the state in order to establish an Islamic caliphate. “Due to circumstances beyond the terrorists’ control,” the three detained members were unable to carry out the planned attacks, police said.
A Russian media report said grenades, gunpowder, ammunition and an improvised explosive device (IED) ready for detonation were seized in the operation.