* Ministry says group tried to bomb civilian targets
* Police recently raided suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir activists'
By Thomas Grove
MOSCOW, Nov 16 Russia said on Friday nine
suspected militants were charged with belonging to outlawed
Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, which police said had
planned bomb attacks on civilian targets in Moscow.
Police said they found firearms, explosives and counterfeit
currency worth $1 million and 2 million euros during a raid on
the apartments of Russian and Tajik citizens earlier this month.
At the time, law enforcement officials said they detained 18
suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir activists. It was not immediately clear
if some or all of the 18 remained in custody.
"Nine citizens of Russia and the Republic of Tajikistan have
been charged... on suspicion of organising activities of the
international terrorist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir and having
in their possession explosives, weapons, and ammunition," the
ministry said in a statement on its website.
Five of those charged were accused of leading cells of the
organisation, which has gained a foothold through much of the
former Soviet Union, especially in Central Asia and the
predominantly Muslim regions of central Russia.
The Interior Ministry told Russian newswires it had tracked
the alleged cells since 2010 and that their leaders had planned
to bomb a railway track near a Moscow train station on Nov. 4,
2010 - an attack police said they had prevented.
The ministry said Hizb ut-Tahrir was trying to capitalise on
an Islamist insurgency in Russia's North Caucasus region by
drawing youth from the predominantly Muslim region into its
ranks and distributing extremist literature.
Russia is fighting an uphill battle to contain North
Caucasus militants who wage daily violence to create an Islamist
state a few hundred kilometres from where Moscow plans to hold
the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The insurgency's leader, Chechen-born Doku Umarov, took
responsibility for a suicide bombing at Moscow's busiest airport
Domodedovo last year which killed 37.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has been banned in Russia since 2003
but operates legally in some other countries, is more active in
other parts of Russia, including the regions of Tatarstan and
The group says it eschews violence, but its stated goal of
working towards a global Islamist state has made it the target
of secular governments, though the group operates more freely in
The group is among the suspects in a deadly attack on
Tatarstan's top religious leader and his assistant in July.