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Uzbekistan Detains 'Recruiters' For Syria-Based Militant Groups

Uzbekistan's security services have detained two people for allegedly recruiting members for foreign militant groups.

State-run Uzbekistan-24 television reported late on January 18 that the two suspects were in contact via Facebook with the Syria-based group Al-Tawhid wal-Jihad.

The report said the two also received financial support from the militant group.

The names of the suspects were not disclosed. But state TV said they were Uzbek nationals and residents of Tashkent’s Olmazor and Yunusobod districts.

Charges against the suspects include affiliation with extremist groups and spreading material that contains threats to public security.

Uzbek media reported that police are also investigating 23 people thought to have "fallen under the influence" of the two suspects. The reports did not elaborate.

It is estimated that some 1,500 people from Uzbekistan have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join Islamic militant groups.

Several Uzbek citizens have been linked to major terrorist attacks abroad in 2017.

Uzbek national Sayfullo Saipov is the main suspect in a truck attack that killed eight people in New York City on October 31.

In April 2017, Uzbek national Rakhmat Akilov drove a truck through a crowd of pedestrians in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, killing four people.

Uzbek citizen Abdulkadir Masharipov was identified by Turkish police as the man who carried out a gun-and-grenade attack at an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people on January 1, 2017.

The Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for that attack.

With reporting by

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