Central Asian citizens detained in Russia over terror links

Investigators said it is not clear yet if they are connected to Akbarzhon Jalilov, a Kyrgyzstan man suspected of carrying out a bomb attack on a St Petersburg Metro train on Monday, which killed 14.

The arrests were carried out jointly with officers of regional FSB and Ministry of Internal Affairs directorates, as well as special National Guard subdivisions.

The suspects, who came to Russian Federation to seek employment, "have been recruiting people of Central Asian descent since 2015 in St. Petersburg to become followers of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] and Al Nusra Front, and to carry out terrorist attacks", the committee said.

Earlier Wednesday, the Investigative Committee said in a statement they searched the home of Dhzalilov in St. Petersburg.

IS has recruited many Islamist militants from Central Asian republics and the North Caucasus. Jalilov had lived in Russia for several years and was a Russian citizen.

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Investigations are continuing into the Metro attack, with police probing Jalilov's background and whether he had links to extremist groups. However, suspicions are very likely to fall on the suspect's Islamist background, possibly inspired by IS ideology.

Russian President Vladimir Putin touched on the attack at a previously-scheduled meeting in Moscow with security service chiefs from ex-Soviet countries.

"Bastrykin instructed to thoroughly investigate all circumstances of the incident and to check all information about the suspect, including to scrutinize his contacts for possible accomplices who are members of the ISIL (former name of the Islamic State) terrorist group, outlawed in Russian Federation", the spokeswoman said.

"We know that each of our countries, practically every one, is a possible and potential target of terrorist attacks".

"We have a very good [intelligence] community, and we enjoy very good cooperation on addressing major challenges". "The recent tragic events in St. Petersburg are the best confirmation of this".

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