FSB foils series of terrorist attacks

Over 240 militants and 11 leaders of armed groups have been neutralized since the beginning of this year in Russia’s North Caucasus, said Federal Security Service (FSB) chief, Aleksandr Bortnikov.

According to Bortnikov, the security services have also managed to establish the identities of the masterminds of the deadly attacks in the Moscow Metro and at a railway station in the southern Russian city of Derbent. Suicide bombers set off two blasts at the subway stations Lubyanka and Park Kultury on March 29, claiming the lives of 40 people and injuring over 90 others.

"As a result of working jointly with the Investigations Committee, the identity of the persons involved in organizing, preparing and carrying out acts of terror in the Moscow subway and the railway station in Derbent, Dagestan, have been ascertained. Timely measures enabled police to prevent further criminal activities by a majority of them," Bortnikov said on Tuesday at the 25th session of the National Antiterrorist Committee (NAK), Itar-Tass reports.

The Russian security head also mentioned that a group of ten gunmen, led by Saudi citizen Yasir – an emissary of international terrorist organizations in the North Caucasus – was eliminated in the Vedeno district in the Chechen Republic, Itar-Tass writes. Also, as a result of a security operation, a militant leader Taziyev, also known as “Magas”, was detained last week.

According to Bortnikov, "In the past two months, secret services and law-enforcement bodies have foiled terrorists' plans to carry out a number of high-profile acts of terror."

Also, he said, security services’ efforts helped to ensure the safety during the celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the victory in WWII, which Russia marked on May 9.

The official, however, underlined that the FSB activities in constricting militants’ activities yield positive results only when “we feel real support from the part of the local population.”

According to the security chief, while continuing the active fight against terrorist and militants, it is also “necessary to carry out purposeful work to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism, eliminate the causes and conditions contributing to the radicalization of certain groups of the population who abet terrorists.”

He stressed that the work of all branches of power “should be aimed at cardinal improvement of socio-economic situation in the region, normalizing inter-ethnic and religious relations, overcoming clannishness and corruption.” Bortnikov said that it is planned to address all the mentioned problems within the framework of a program that is currently being worked on, in compliance with President Dmitry Medvedev’s instruction of April 5.

Present at Tuesday’s NAK mission were also presidential representatives to federal districts, including the head of North Caucasian region, Aleksandr Khloponin.

Following a chain of terrorist attacks that hit the country in spring this year, Medvedev urged measures to be taken to tackle the problem. In April, the head of state ordered the creation of a special anti-terrorism group in the North Caucasus. During his visit to the republic of Dagestan, Medvedev outlined the five main components of fighting terrorism in the troublesome region.

“Firstly, to strengthen law enforcement and security bodies, the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service and other agencies, and to help the courts. Secondly, we must continue to deliver precision strikes against terrorists and their hideouts. Thirdly, we should help those who decide to break away from the bandits. Fourthly, we should develop the economic and social sphere, educational, cultural and humanitarian programs. And finally, we should strengthen the moral and spiritual component, helping religious leaders. Given those five components, we will succeed,” he said.