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MOSCOW, October 3 (Itar-Tass) — Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov said former militants from the Caucasus who settled in Europe, fund extremist bodies in Russia. Bortnikov was speaking at the 11th conference of chiefs of secret services and security and law-enforcement bodies which opened in Moscow.
"For example, participants in North Caucasus gangs join ethnic criminal groups channeling the bulk of revenue for the needs of extremist and terrorist bodies operating in Russia," the FSB director noted.
The merging of former militants with organized criminal groups has become "yet another stable trend related to the funding and replenishment of the material resources of extremist and terrorist organizations;" the main forms of "such cooperation" are drug and weapons trafficking, hostage taking, and financial fraud.
This "alliance" ensures a considerable expansion of the opportunities for the operation of both sides, which complicates the work of secret services and law-enforcement bodies, Bortnikov said.
He also said al Qaeda is trying to infiltrate government bodies in a number of regions. "A relative weakening of the al Qaeda center due to the destruction of a number of its leaders is compensated by an increased activity of regional terrorist organizations controlled by or affiliated with al Qaeda, who exploit national, religious and ethnic conflicts."
"The threat of stepped up terrorist activity in the Middle East and in North Africa is coming to the foreground. It is here that we note a skillful manipulation of domestic conflicts in certain states by international terrorist organizations for their purposes. Their role in unsettling the situation and replacement of governments in a number of countries has been increasing.
"The processes set in motion by these forces threaten the stability of whole regions, and the possible consequences pose a threat to all the international community regardless of geographic distance from the instability area," the FSB director said.
According to Bortnikov, North Caucasus militants are having "trial runs" in conflict area. "The FSB pays special attention to the facts of participation of North Caucasus natives in anti-government groups in the Afghan-Pakistani zone and Syria, who are sent there for "trial runs" by the Imarat Kavkaz terrorist organization," he said.