Russia Arrests 15 Suspected Jihadists Linked to World Network

Friday, 29 Nov 2013 05:52 AM

By Joel Himelfarb

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Moscow police have arrested 15 members of Takfir Wal-Hijra, a militant Islamist group, and seized a large cache of weaponry and explosives, RT.com reported.
 
The Israel-based International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) calls the group an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and says it functions as “a terrorist network composed of violent terrorist cells worldwide.”

Takfir Wal-Hijra adheres to an Islamist ideology called Takfiri doctrine, which urges Muslims to completely withdraw from what many  regard as corrupt societies.
 
Its adherents include current al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to the ICT.  

The Russian Interior Ministry said the Takfir Wal-Hijra cell was uncovered as a result of a criminal investigation unrelated to terrorism when authorities learned that militants were using criminal activity to finance their operations.

According to the RT, police reported seizing three improvised explosive devices complete with detonators, along with ammunition, hand grenades, and extremist literature.

Takfir Wal-Hijra was formed in Egypt in the early 1970s. Egyptian security forces were said to have crushed the organization as part of a 1977 crackdown on militants following several high-profile assassinations.
 
It was not thought to have cells in Russia until approximately five years ago, according to Elena Suponina, head of the Russian Institute for Strategic Research’s Center for Asia and the Near East.
 
In an interview with RIA Novosti, Suponina said the 15 people arrested in Moscow may not be directly connected with the Egyptian militants. Instead, they may just be using the popular name.
 
Nonetheless, because “they share the ideology and are prepared to resort to violence to reach their goals, they are certainly dangerous,” she said in the Novosti interview, which was cited by the RT.
 
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