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Russia in 2017 prevented 25 terrorist attacks — National Anti-Terrorist Committee

February 28, 11:31 UTC+3

The activity of more than 50 terrorist cells was quashed, 1,060 militants were detained

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© Alexander Ryumin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 28. /TASS/. Twenty five terrorist attacks were prevented in Russia in 2017, the first deputy chief of staff of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, Igor Kulyagin, told a news conference on Wednesday.

"Last year 25 terrorist attacks were prevented in the territory of our country. Pre-emptive work continues non-stop," he said.

"Sixty eight terrorism-related crimes, including attacks with the use of firearms, were prevented during the preparatory stage. More than 1,300 individuals were persuaded to refrain from terrorist activity," he said. "More than 17,500 foreigners suspected of involvement in terrorism activities were prohibited from entering our country’s territory last year," he said.

At the same time, Kulyagin went on to say, ringleaders continued attempts to stage terrorist attacks at transport facilities and crowded places.

"In 2017 the NAC’s priorities were prevention of growth in terrorist activity, exposure and elimination of underground terrorist cells and prevention of terrorist attacks in the country’s territory. Special attention was paid to transport facilities and crowded places," he said.

The activity of more than 50 terrorist cells was quashed, 1,060 militants detained and 90 others, including 12 ringleaders put out action.

 Andrey Przhezdomsky, an advisor to the chairman of Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee said terrorists are actively recruited via the Internet.

"Online recruitment is becoming global today, so the question of control over cyberspace is far from idle, rather, it is one of the most topical issues," he said.

According to the NAC representative, "now everything is done remotely, with cells being set up remotely." "The process can be very fast, and the impact sometimes occurs within just a few months," he noted.

 Russia’s special services last year prevented more than 80 Russians from going abroad for participation in combat operations on the side of illegal armed groups, he added. 

"Last year more than 80 persons were prevented from leaving Russia for participation in terrorist activities. A firm obstruction has been placed to minimize this flow," he said.

According to the NAC representative, "now everything is done remotely, with cells being set up remotely." "The process can be very fast, and the impact sometimes occurs within just a few months," he noted.

Przhezdomsky noted that cutting-edge technologies were being used for recruitment throughout social networks. "International terrorism now focuses on this form of recruitment in terrorist activities. Not a single terrorist attack is carried out without prior communication online. People who lack critical thinking are selected for recruitment. All that is often done under the disguise of religious enlightenment," he said.

He explained that all that is a way of luring people into terrorist activities. "The whole process starts with harmless communication on social networks, then it switches to religious instruction, after which young people begin communicating in closed groups in messengers with a high level of crypto protection where the recruitment occurs," he noted. A new world outlook is thus being shaped. "Then the question is resolved as to where this candidate can be used - whether he or she should travel abroad or stay where he is, join a sleeper cell, an autonomous gang, become a lone wolf or provide assistance," he explained.

Hooligans’ actions were behind telephone terrorists’ massive attack in Russia, he went on. 

"Only hooligans’ actions were behind that. The search work has made it possible to identify the mechanisms for such calls. They were made at the modern level and were not amateurish," he said.

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