28 Feb 2018 12:33

NAC: activity of over 50 terrorist cells stopped in Russia in 2017

MOSCOW. Feb 28 (Interfax) - More than 50 terror cells were exposed in Russia last year, and over 1,300 people were persuaded to give up extremism, the first deputy head of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC)'s headquarters, Igor Kulyagin, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"Anti-terrorism operations, investigative procedures, and other types of activity helped stop the activity of over 50 secret terrorist cells and detain 1,060 militants. Ninety militants, including 13 ringleaders, were killed in shootouts," Kulyagin said.

The efficiency of preventive operations has improved, Kulyagin said. "Sixty-eight terrorist crimes, such as terror attacks, shooting incidents, and attempts of certain individuals to go abroad to fight in the ranks of international terrorist organizations were stopped before they were perpetrated," he said.

"More than 1,300 citizens were persuaded to renounce terrorism and extremism," Kulyagin said.

For instance, two terrorist cells were shut down in Moscow and Stavropol in December 2017 before they could organize suicide bombings during holiday season, he said.

"It appeared that the cells were orchestrated from abroad by the leaders of the international terrorist organization banned in Russia, ISIL," Kulyagin said.

Furthermore, the FSB, acting together with the Interior Ministry, exposed and stopped the activity of ISIL followers in Moscow and Makhachkala in October 2017, Kulyagin said. "Four members of a sleeper cell of this criminal organization were taken into custody," he said, adding that the militants communicated with ISIL emissaries and plotted terror attacks and attempts on the lives of law enforcement officers.