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4 Suspected Rebels Nabbed at Kievsky

Security is being tightened in Moscow in anticipation of nationalist rallies. Misha Japaridze

In a show of vigilance after a presidential panning, police at Moscow's Kievsky Station detained four alleged rebels Tuesday, though the suspects apparently only planned to take a train to Chisinau, Moldova, not stage a terrorist attack.

One of the detainees, Hasu Batalov, 28, was put on a federal wanted list over an attack on policemen in Chechnya, the republic's Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov said in a statement Wednesday.

Batalov's sister, Angela, 39, also arrested, tried to smuggle him and the other detainees to Western Europe through Moldova, Alkhanov said, adding that Batalov was carrying a fake passport.

Police think that the other suspects, Ramzan Khaliyev and Hasan Nazhayev, also have ties to the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, Alkhanov said, Interfax reported. Nazhayev previously served a prison sentence for aiding rebels.

All four were detained on a tip, the federal Interior Ministry's press service said, Interfax reported. It did not elaborate, but said the suspects were sent to Chechnya for investigation.

Batalov joined a rebel group in 2008, the ministry added.

An office of the Memorial rights watchdog in the Ingush town of Nazran reported in 2001 that Batalov, a schoolboy at the time, was badly beaten by police officers investigating a terrorist attack in Chechnya that left one policeman killed and several injured after their truck hit a mine.

Earlier media reports said the group planned a terrorist attack at the station on Tuesday, with Angela Batalova to carry out a suicide bombing, but Alkhanov denied the rumors.

President Dmitry Medvedev made a surprise visit to Kievsky Station last week to inspect security in the wake of a suicide bombing that killed 36 at Domodedovo Airport in January.

Medvedev slammed security at the station, saying he had not seen a single policeman in the main waiting room. Later reports indicated that the area was actually being patrolled by plainclothes officers.

In a separate incident, Rostov-on-Don police Wednesday detained a man who attempted to board an airplane to Moscow with a TNT block in his possession, Interfax said.

A local police spokesman said the man, whose name was withheld, served in the Interior Troops, but a spokesman for the force denied that later the same day. It remained unclear why the suspect was traveling with explosives.

In another sign of rising ethnic tensions, nationalists were reported to be rallying in Moscow on Tuesday evening, prompting police to boost their presence on all major downtown squares, Interfax said.

No illegal rallies were reported, but 11 people were briefly detained for questioning. A similar event saw some 5,500 people chanting anti-North Caucasus slogans and clashing with police by the Kremlin walls in December.

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