Terrorist org shifting operations to Russia: security official

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Moscow, Mar 31 (UNI) Federal Security Service (FSB) chief General Nikolai Patrushev today said international terrorist organisations were frantically trying to shift their operations to Russia.

''There have been repeated attempts by the international terrorist organisations Hizb ut Tahrir al-Islami and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to move their operations to the territory of the Russian Federation, including the Urals region,'' Mr Patrushev said at a meeting of high-ranking officials of the Russian security agencies in Khanty-Mansiisk in western Siberia.

He said security bodies have discovered over 80 active members of such organisations over the last two years in Russia's Tyumen and Chelyabinsk regions, adding that the number of terrorist and extremist crimes in the Urals Federal district had grown in 2007.

He also stressed that counter-terrorism measures should receive greater attention in the country.

''This is especially urgent in the light of the coming regular Russia-EU summit due in Khanty-Mansiisk in June. Foreign experience of countering terrorism is to be taken into account,'' RIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.

Hizb ut Tahrir, which calls itself a political party, is seeking the overthrow of authorities in Tajikistan in Central Asia.

Tajik secret services have repeatedly said that Hizb ut Tahrir was connected with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which aims at establishing an Islamic state in the Fergana Valley, a region stretching through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Russia has declared the movement has links to radical Islamist groups in Chechnya and it has been placed on a list of banned organisations by the country's Supreme Court.

UNI XC PD KN1928

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