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12 Jul, 2010 17:29

Preventing disaster: Alleged terrorist accomplice and would-be bombers detained

A group of women suspected of being trained to carry out suicide bombings have been detained in the Russian North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan.

Anti-terror officials also say they've also detained two men, one of whom may have been involved in the deadly attacks on the Moscow metro in March.

The group was located after security services received intelligence that militants operating across the republic are plotting terror attacks in central Russia that would involve female suicide bombers.

As a result, six women between 15 and 29 years of age were arrested. Four of them are reported to be the widows of terrorist leaders neutralized earlier, and the other two had prior convictions for possession of firearms and were though to be missing.

One of the two men detained during the same operation, according to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has ties to the March bombings that rocked the Moscow metro, killing 40 and injuring dozens.

The FSB accuses the unidentified man of providing support, housing and transportation to the two female suicide bombers who strapped explosives to themselves before boarding the two underground trains.

“Terrorists disgrace these women, rape them, deprive them of a better future in the Muslim society of the Caucasus. They're psychologically shattered, and are left with no other choice but to become cannon fodder,” says Viktor Nadein-Raevsky of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations.

In the apartment that served as a headquarters and an armory, the security forces have found guns, one of them with a muffler, two belts that could be used for terrorist bombings, sim cards and wigs.

The suspects are now giving evidence. The detained women accused of taking to terrorism claim they are innocent and insist the weapons found don’t belong to them but to dead family members.

For example, one of the women said that three grenades and two Makarov guns found in the apartment belonged to her husband, killed during the attack against local law enforcement officers.

“Has your husband taught you to explode grenades?” an interviewer asks the woman.

“He taught me, I can do it,” the detained woman answers.

The National Anti-Terror Committee also reported that “officers seized the detained suspects’ ‘farewell’ letters to their families, where they expressed their wish to end their life and advised their ‘sisters’ to follow suit. They also found one of female terrorists’ ‘will’ in the form of a leaflet with a standard text containing the young woman's name and several personal remarks.”

The FSB is confident they have foiled at least two major attacks but say the hunt is still on for the masterminds behind the terror plots.