MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s main domestic security agency arrested 12 people in the Kaliningrad exclave for suspected involvement with an Islamic extremist group, Russian news agencies said late Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, announced the arrest in Russia’s far east of two suspected supporters of another radical Islamic group who it said were planning a terror attack.
The Kaliningrad announcement said the 12 detainees were believed to be involved with a group called Islamic Jihad – Jamaat Mujahedeen. Those arrested were of Central Asian descent, the news reports said without giving further details.
Kaliningrad, which is sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, has strong military importance as Russia’s westernmost territory and as home to its Baltic Fleet.
Concern in Russia about extremist recruitment among people from the strongly Muslim former Soviet central Asian republics has risen sharply over the past month after a Kyrgyz was identified as the suicide bomber who killed 15 passengers on a St. Petersburg subway and the arrest of an Uzbek man for allegedly driving a heavy truck into a crowd in downtown Stockholm.
Earlier Wednesday, the security agency said two suspected supporters of the Islamic State militant group were arrested in an apartment in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, a city on the Pacific island of Sakhalin. The FSB said a search turned up a homemade explosive device and IS propaganda literature.
One of the suspects is a citizen of Russia and the other is a citizen of one of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, the FSB said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies. It provided no further identification.
The agency said the two men arrested on Sakhalin were planning to carry out a terror attack but it gave no specifics other than to say that the attack was planned for a site where many people congregate.
An FSB video of the suspects broadcast on Russian state television showed the two men handcuffed and lying face down on the floor.