St. Petersburg subway blast investigators detain recruiters of terrorists

Law enforcement officers near Sennaya Ploshchad station of the St Petersburg metro in the aftermath of an explosion.

Law enforcement officers near Sennaya Ploshchad station of the St Petersburg metro in the aftermath of an explosion.

Sergei Konkov/TASS
Six natives of Central Asia have been detained in St. Petersburg

Six natives of Central Asia have been detained in St. Petersburg on suspicion of recruiting individuals for terror-related crimes but investigators have no data on their ties with the subway terror attack perpetrator, the Investigative Committee told TASS on April 5.

According to investigators, they had been recruiting mostly natives of Central Asian republics in St. Petersburg since November 2015 for terror-related crimes and involvement in the activity of the Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State terrorist organizations.

"Russia’s Investigative Committee will thoroughly check all the ties and the contacts of the persons detained but it should be noted at once that the investigation has no data on the detainees’ link and acquaintance with the perpetrator of the terror attack in the St. Petersburg subway," the Investigative Committee said.

The Investigative Committee has said the suspects were seeking to involve recruited citizens in the activity of other illegal armed formations, including on the territory of foreign states.

"Searches are being held at the suspects’ living places, in the course of which investigators are seizing Islamist extremist literature, the items and documents important for investigating the criminal case," the Investigative Committee said.

An unidentified device went off at about 2:40 Moscow time on April 3 in a subway train car when it was moving from the Tekhnologichesky Institut Station to the Sennaya Ploshchad Station. The Russian Investigative Committee has qualified the blast as a terrorist attack but other versions are being looked into as well. A total of 14 people have died as a result of the blast while over 50 have been injured. As a source in law-enforcement agencies said, the explosive device was triggered by a suicide bomber, Akbardjon Djalilov, a native of Kyrgyzstan born in 1995.

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