The FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in the course of a joint operation in Moscow and Krasnoyarsk, detained alleged members of a terrorist cell that allegedly recruited militants to be sent to Syria. This was reported to TASS at the Center for Public Relations of the FSB of Russia.
“The activity of the interregional cell of the international terrorist organization Katiba Tawhid wal-Jihad was suppressed, four people from among its leaders and ordinary members were detained,” the press service said. These people are suspected of recruiting and transporting militants, financing terrorism and calling for it.
The FSB claims that during the searches, propaganda materials, as well as equipment and bank cards, were confiscated from the detainees. A criminal case has been initiated.
The radical Islamist group Katiba Tawhid wal-Jihad was designated a terrorist organization by the US State Department in March 2022. According to the US authorities, it is associated with al-Qaeda and operates mainly in the Syrian province of Idlib. The State Department statement notes that Katiba Tawhid wal-Jihad was responsible for the April 2017 St. Petersburg metro attack and the August 2016 suicide attack on the Chinese Embassy in Bishkek.
In Russia, Katiba Tawhid wal-Jihad was banned by a court decision in 2019. Russian authorities claimed that the group was behind the metro bombing that killed 16 people. In December 2019, 10 people accused of this crime were sentenced in the explosion case, they received from 19 years to life imprisonment.
The defendants pleaded not guilty. According to them, FSB officers beat and tortured them into confessions and planted evidence on them.