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Kazakh Police Apprehend Three Over Bomb Blasts

A screen grab from a video posted on YouTube by a group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate), which has issued threats to the Kazakh government.
ATYRAU, Kazakhstan -- Three men have been arrested in western Kazakhstan in connection with two bombs that exploded there last week, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

On November 7, the prosecutor's office in Kazakhstan's western Atyrau Oblast announced the detention of three members of an alleged terrorist group suspected of being behind the two explosions in the city of Atyrau on October 31.

It did not identify the men or specify when they were arrested. It said the group's objective was "to scare law enforcement officials and local government employees."

A local man authorities said was the fourth member of the group, Bauyrzhan Qanatuly Sultanghaliev, 23, died in the second of the two blasts.

The prosecutor's statement said Sultanghaliev did not intend to kill himself, but died as a result of "the accidental detonation of a home-made explosive device."

A group called Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate), a "brigade" of foreign fighters based on the Afghan-Pakistan border, claimed credit for the Atyrau bombings in a statement released on jihadist forums.

In the statement, the group denied the man killed was a suicide bomber and said the blasts "were just a warning to the government."

In a short video posted on YouTube last month, the same Islamist group demanded, in Russian, that Kazakhstan repeal a new law which bans daily Islamic prayers on the premises of government agencies.

In the video, one of the five masked fighters toting Kalashnikovs and a grenade launcher warned Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and the country's authorities they will take "appropriate measures" unless the law is repealed.

Read more in Kazakh here