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Azerbaijan Launches Manhunt For Terror Suspect

Police outside a chemical plant in Sumgayit (RFE/RL) SUMGAYIT, Azerbaijan, October 11, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- The National Security Ministry of Azerbaijan has reportedly launched a manhunt in the city of Sumgayit for a man it says was planning a terrorist attack using one of the city's many chemical production facilities.

A correspondent for RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports from Sumgayit that police presence is heavy and that a number of the city's chemical facilities have been cordoned off. There has been no official ministry statement on the manhunt, but state television reports the man is of Arab origin and is believed to be armed.

Sumgayit, located about 30 kilometers northwest of Baku on the Caspian coast, was a hub of chemical production during the Soviet Union and is one of the most polluted cities in the world.

The manhunt comes amid growing concerns in Baku about rising Islamist sentiment and fears of extremism and terrorist attacks. This week saw the start of a trial of 16 members of an unofficial Islamic group who are charged with seeking to overthrow the Azerbaijani government using funding and intelligence from Iran.

(RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service)

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