FSB foils extremist cell ‘run by foreign emissaries’ in Moscow region
Seven members of the Tablighi Jamaat cell, including its leaders, were detained in a joint operation by the FSB, the police, and the Russian National Guard in the Moscow region, according to an official FSB statement. According to RIA news agency, six out of seven detainees were Kyrgyz citizens while another one was Russian.
The clandestine group took great efforts to stay undercover and took special countermeasures to throw the Russian security services off the scent, security officials said.
“The detained members of the Tablighi Jamaat [group] … were recruiting and brainwashing new members in Russia, studied prohibited [extremist] literature and discussed plans to establish an Islamic ‘caliphate’ on Russian territory,” the FSB said in a statement.
The newly-recruited members were then sent to training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the statement said.
The investigators conducted searches of the apartments in which cell leaders were detained, and managed to find extremist literature and communication devices as well as memory drives containing reports about the activities of the cell.
Tablighi Jamaat is a global Sunni Islamist movement that has millions of followers across the world and has its cells in almost two dozen countries, including Russia, the UK, France, Germany and Canada. It was founded in 1927 in India but then moved its headquarters to Pakistan.
The movement was banned and outlawed as an extremist organization in Russia in 2009 for “assistance to the international terrorist organizations” and for actions “aimed at the violation of the territorial integrity of Russia and religious discrimination of its citizens.”
In October, the leader and the paymaster of another Tablighi Jamaat cell was detained in the Russian region of Tatarstan in October alongside with eight members of his cell. Earlier, cells of the extremist group were busted in several Russian Siberian and Far East regions.
Their detention took place just a week after the FSB foiled a series of terrorist attacks in Moscow by a group of foreign fighters, who were directed by an Islamic State-affiliate based in Turkey. According to a recent report released by the Russian National Antiterrorism committee, the FSB and other law enforcement agencies prevented 42 terrorist attacks on Russian soil this year.