Russia’s security services said they have detained the leader of the Russian wing of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist group, a terrorist organization banned in Russia.
The Federal Security Service (FSB), a successor-agency of the KGB, said the arrests took place in Russia’s Muslim-majority republic of Tatarstan.
“The ringleader of the international terrorist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami’s Russian wing and heads of the regional bodies have been detained,” the FSB said in a press statement Thursday.
It said the suspects recruited members to be sent out to the Middle East and – “at the direction of their foreign handlers” – sought to establish a “worldwide caliphate.”
Banned religious material and electronic devices were seized during the raids.
Hizb ut-Tahrir has been classified as a terrorist organization in Russia since 2003. Meanwhile, the group operates legally in a number of other countries, including Ukraine and the United States.