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31 Mar, 2024 11:04

Three terrorist suspects detained in southern Russia

Firearms and an explosive device were discovered during the raids, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) has said

Three people have been detained by security forces in Russia’s Republic of Dagestan, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) has said.

The arrests were made on Sunday morning during a counter-terrorist operation in the regional capital, Makhachkala, and the nearby city of Kaspiysk, the NAC said.

The “bandits” who were taken to custody were “planning to commit a number of terrorist crimes,” the statement noted.

Automatic weapons, ammunition and a ready-to-use improvised explosive device were discovered at the locations where the suspects were holed up, the statement read.

There were no casualties among security forces or civilians during the raids, according to the agency.

Earlier, the NAC said special forces of Russia’s Security Service (FSB) had intercepted “armed persons linked to terrorist activities” in several neighborhoods of Makhachkala and Kaspiysk overnight.

A counter-terrorist operation regime was introduced in parts of the two cities, and residents were evacuated from the affected areas, according to the agency.

Later on Sunday, Makhachkala Mayor Yusup Umavov announced that all limitations related to the anti-terrorist operation had been lifted.

Dagestan is a Muslim-majority region on the Caspian Sea coast in the North Caucasus, home to more than six million people.

The detentions in Makhachkala and Kaspiysk come in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall outside Moscow last Friday, in which at least 144 people were killed and more than 500 wounded.

The four suspected perpetrators – who were apprehended by the Russian security forces the next day while attempting to flee in the direction of the Ukrainian border – were all citizens of Tajikistan.

The terrorist group Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) has claimed responsibility for the massacre. The US and EU have insisted that ISIS-K was the sole culprit and that Ukraine was in no way involved.

However, President Vladimir Putin and other top Russian officials have cast doubt on the claims. Putin said that the attack was carried out by “radical Islamists,” but that its true mastermind is yet to be established. The massacre at the Crocus City Hall serves the interests of the Kiev authorities and those who have been “fighting our country since 2014” using Ukraine, he said.

Earlier this week, Russia’s Investigative Committee revealed that the four suspects had received “significant sums of money” from Ukraine in the form of cryptocurrency while preparing for the attack in Moscow Region.