Russia’s FSB secret service has captured the suspected mastermind behind a foiled terror attack in Moscow. His group, which fought in Afghanistan against the ISAF forces, was uncovered and neutralized last month by police.
A man identified as Yulay Davletbayev headed the terror cell, which was plotting an attack in Moscow. Two of his accomplices were killed in a May 20 police operation, while a third was captured alive. The items seized by law enforcers at the time included half-completed suicide vests, detonators and metal shrapnel.
The FSB captured Davletbayev, who is in his early 40s, in a suburb of Moscow after weeks of searching, the committee said. “This job took considerable effort and cooperation from troops, national bodies and local authorities. Several regions of the Russian Federation conducted search and screening operations. This allowed identifying the location where the criminal was hiding.”
All of the militants were Russian citizens, Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee said Thursday. The group trained in combat and demolition along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, a region controlled by the Taliban.
They are also known to have fought against the US-led ISAF coalition deployed in Afghanistan, the committee reported.
The cell was sent to Moscow by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, also known as the Turkistan Islamic Party, a terrorist organization that seeks to establish an Islamic state inside the Chinese border province of Xinjiang. The organization has carried out attacks against US-related targets, and others.
The group’s goal was to organize a series of attack in the Russian capital during Victory Day celebrations on May 9. Davletbayev got a job as taxi driver to familiarize himself with the city and pick high-value targets for future attacks, the committee said.
“While navigating around the city in his taxi, he was selecting places most vulnerable for a terrorist attack, which would suffer most damage and cause greatest loss of life,” the committee said.
They failed to meet their timetable, and were ultimately exposed by the Russian security services. .
The arrest of the cell’s leader came after the arrested member, Robert Amerkhanov, decided to cooperate with investigators.
The group is suspected of committing several crimes in Russia’s southern regions before 2010, when they moved to Afghanistan.
The FSB also has information on Davletbayev’s links to another militant leader, who was responsible for bombing a natural gas pipeline and at least two attacks on Russian police officers; the leader was killed in 2010 by anti-terrorism forces.
The Russian capital has seen a number of deadly terror attacks in recent years. The most recent was in January 2011, when a suicide bomber set off an explosive device in the arrival zone of Domodedovo Airport, killing 36 people and injuring 180 others. In March 2010, bombings in the Moscow Metro killed 41 people and injured around 100.
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