Moscow, 9 June 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) today said 121 suspected members of the banned Islamic organization Hizb ut-Tahrir were arrested during a security crackdown conducted in Moscow on Friday. All detainees are reportedly Central Asians who have been living illegally in the Russian capital. The FSB said weapons, ammunition, and explosives were seized during the security crackdown.
Russian authorities said they believe nearly half the detainees are active Islamic militants. The authorities said the dismantled network was recruiting mercenaries with a view to sending them to the Northern Caucasus region and former Soviet republics.
Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), is campaigning for the creation of a caliphate in Central Asia. Although Russia earlier this year banned Hizb ut-Tahrir for alleged terrorist links, the group is emphasizing nonviolent means to achieve its goal.