MOSCOW -- Russian security officials arrested 69 alleged members of a banned Islamic organisation said to be led by Central Asians, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said Tuesday (November 14).
Followers of the Tablighi Jamaat, a global Sunni Muslim evangelical movement, were arrested in Moscow and the surrounding area, said the FSB. Russia considers the group to be extremist and outlawed it in 2009.
Those detained were "an extremist cell" led by people from Central Asia that included Russian citizens, the FSB said.
The FSB said it had "foiled unlawful activity of a deep-cover structure from an international organisation" -- without giving details of the alleged activity.
Officers confiscated "communications devices as well as a electronic data storage devices with reports on unlawful activity" during a raid, the FSB said, adding that an investigation had been opened.
The FSB has been cracking down on natives of ex-Soviet Central Asian states in recent months after several were implicated in terror attacks, shifting its focus away from extremists from the North Caucasus.
The Taliban have been using advanced weapons available only to the Russian military, according to a security source in western Afghanistan.
Popular support in Central Asia for Islamist insurgencies in the Middle East and beyond is waning.