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27 February 2007

Islamist's terror attack prevented in Moscow on the eve of Fatherland Defendant Day

Moscow, February 26, Interfax - A terrorist act was foiled in Moscow on the eve of the February 23 Fatherland Defendant Day, the city Interior Department announced Monday.

On February 22, police arrested a 29-year-old resident of Makhachkala (Dagestan), Farid Magomedov, aka Islam, at a trolley-bus stop near 61, Marshal Zhukov Avenue in northwestern Moscow, the Moscow Interior Department said in a statement posted on its website.

"He was getting on a trolley-bus traveling in the direction of the Polezhayevskaya underground station when he was arrested and had no time to offer resistance. A homemade explosive device equivalent to 500g of TNT was found in his bag," the statement says.

The bomb represented a metal cylinder filled with grape-shot, nails and other metal. A remote-controlled bomb-setting device was found in a pocket of Magomedov's trousers.

Police have been tracking him for about a year, the statement says.

Until before recently, Magomedov had worked as a furniture assembler in Moscow. And before that he had been an active member of the Shariat subversive group operating in the North Caucasus several years ago.

"The group's leader Ruslan Makasharipov was killed during a special police operation in Makhachkala and was succeeded by Ruslan Abdullayev, who in turn was arrested in Dagestan in March 2005 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison," the statement says.

At Shariat, Magomedov was responsible for the manufacture of explosive devices used in terrorist attacks in Dagestan, it says.

While in the group, Magomedov reportedly prepared nine homemade bombs, similar to the one that was in his bag when he was arrested on Marshal Zhukov Avenue, and he personally took part in three Shariat-staged actions in the North Caucasus.

In the Moscow region, he attempted to recruit terrorists out of radically minded adherents of Wahhabism for future terrorist acts in Moscow.

Magomedov repeatedly traveled to Turkey, Syria and other Arab countries, where he met with members of underground cells of Al Qaeda, the statement says.

A criminal case has been opened on charges of illegal acquisition, hand-over, sale, storage, transportation and possession of arms and their components, as well as ammunition and explosive devices.

Some evidence suggests that the explosive device seized during the operation was intended for a terrorist act targeting Moscow police.

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