MOSCOW, December 10 (RIA Novosti) – Dozens of people have been arrested in a police operation against a banned Islamist organization in Dagestan, Russia’s Interior Ministry said Tuesday.
Three leaders of the local Hizb-ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Party of Islamic Liberation) movement were among 52 people detained in the special operation, the ministry said in a statement. The international Islamist group was banned as a “terrorist organization” by Russia’s Supreme Court in 2003.
Among those detained was Kazimzhan Sheraliyev, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan who is alleged to be an international representative of the organization. Others were being investigated for possible involvement in crimes in the North Caucasus, the ministry said.
One of the suspected leaders was found with a home-made bomb during a raid on premises belonging to the group’s members, it said. Law enforcement officers also seized two grenades, electric shock devices and extremist literature.
Hizb-ut Tahrir says that its goal is that “Islam encapsulates the world” and members of the group are regularly detained in Russia.
Dagestan has been the epicenter of an Islamist insurgency in Russia’s turbulent North Caucasus in recent years. It has been plagued with violence and regular clashes between militants and federal forces.
Four alleged Islamist terrorists were arrested in the southern Urals Republic of Bashkortostan in August and charged with preparing a coup, according to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).