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FSB chief praises global partners’ cooperation that helped Russia foil terror plots

October 04, 12:31 UTC+3 KRASNODAR

The Islamic State may create another worldwide terrorist network after its defeat in Syria and Iraq

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© Vitaly Nevar/TASS

KRASNODAR, October 4. /TASS/. Russian special services’ cooperation with foreign partners allowed thwarting a number of terrorist attacks in Russia, the Federal Security Service chief, Alexander Bortnikov, said on Wednesday.

"We had the most fruitful cooperation this year with the special services of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, India, Egypt, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Austria and Serbia," Bortnikov told a meeting with the heads of special services, security agencies and law enforcement agencies in the southern city of Krasnodar.

"Joint events helped to foil a number of terrorist attacks in Russia’s territory, and members of international terrorist organizations linked to this plot were identified and detained," he said.

He thanked all partners for their active cooperation in the war on terror and their assistance in ensuring security at the 2016 Ice Hockey Championship and the 2017 Confederations Cup held in Russia.

"We expect further constructive cooperation during the preparation for and holding the World Cup in Russia in 2018," Bortnikov said.

Islamic State has set up positions in Afghanistan, and terrorists there are trying to conduct attacks against Russia, he went on. 

He noted that "militants are intentionally moving beyond the Middle East and settling in unstable regions in an effort to create new centers of tension and [spark] armed conflicts there." They are most actively repositioning to Afghanistan where IS already has positions and from where they can infiltrate into the Central Asia, Iran, China and India, he said. "By using the Afghan lodgment, terrorists are attempting to conduct attacks against Russia as well," he added. New international terrorist strongholds are also being established in Yemen, Central Africa and Southeast Asia.

"According to our data, terrorists are expanding their ties in the hacker community and are setting up their own cyber units. The technical level of their attacks is constantly growing and they are becoming more sophisticated," Bortnikov said. 

"We consider there are high chances that international terrorist organizations will redirect their cyber attacks from state information resources to the critical infrastructure facilities with the goal of triggering industrial disasters and environmental catastrophes," Bortnikov said.

The threat to global community from terrorists’ cyber attacks "is becoming more and more real today," he stressed.

"Our common priority task is to caution gunmen, not to let them fulfill their inhuman plans," Bortnikov said, noting that international terrorists are "reformatting their activity on a large-scale basis and are trying to adapt to the changes by leaps and bounds."

Terrorists lose control

International terrorist organizations led by the Islamic State are sustaining considerable losses in the Middle East losing control of vast territories, he went on. 

He noted that, over the past year, "thanks to effective concerted action by Syrian government troops and Russia’s Aerospace Forces and the operations conducted by the coalition forces in Iraq, international terrorist organizations led by ISIL harve sustaininged considerable losses in manpower and equipment."

The leaders of terrorist organizations have lost control over vast territories, many strongholds and a number of oil-producing regions, which significantly curtailed their economic base that made it possible to finance both large militant units in that region and their supporters outside it.

According to the FSB director, "the awareness of the threat of complete destruction in the areas of former domination has forced the leaders of international terrorist organizations to change the strategy and tactics of further actions."

New coalition

After its defeat in Syria and Iraq the international terrorist organization Islamic State plans to create another worldwide terrorist network, he said. 

"Now, that they have practically suffered defeat in building a caliphate in the territory of Syria and Iraq the warlords of the Islamic State and other affiliated international terrorist organizations have set another global strategic aim - that of creating a new worldwide terrorist network," Bortnikov said. "This is well-seen in the nature and vast geographic scope of the latest terrorist attacks. This year the death toll of attacks in Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Mali, Turkey, Russia, Britain, Spain, Sweden, Finland and other countries numbers hundreds."

Terrorists’ actions, he said, should be qualified as a challenge to entire civilized humanity aimed at breeding panic in various parts of the world and putting pressures on the countries that wage a war on terrorism and also as the wish to demonstrate to their "real and potential supporters and sponsors the ability to push ahead with active operations."

Bortnikov believes that lone-wolf terrorist attacks are becoming a dangerous world trend.

"The so-called autonomous jihad is becoming a dangerous world trend already causing secret services’ great concern," Bortnikov said.

"Calls by warlords addressed to their supporters in many countries not to come to Syria or Iraq but to stay where they are in order to stage pin-point attacks and high-profile terrorist attacks against civilians are one of its new features," he told the on-going 16th international conference of heads of secrete and security services and law enforcement agencies from 74 countries underway in Krasnodar.

Another major threat is posed by terrorist militants who return home from trouble spots or who have entered other countries under false identities and who have undergone "brainwashing and have long combat record and skills in making explosive devices."

"For achieving their aims in Europe and Russia the leaders of international terrorist groups widely use migration flows, which in the context of full or partial openness of borders allows international terrorist militants to infiltrate into the ‘target countries’ in the guise of refugees or labor migrants," Bortnikov said.

The terrorists’ ringleaders have established tight links with major ethnic criminal groups and supply them with weapons and documents necessary for settling down and provide other assistance.

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