Georgia police foil attack by Russian-backed gang

Last Updated: Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 16:28

Tbilisi: Georgian police said on Thursday they uncovered three unexploded bombs outside a private television station suspected to have been planted by a Russian-backed gang.

The devices were found late Wednesday outside Imedi TV -- a national station that caused panic last March by airing a spoof newscast announcing a Russian invasion.

The Interior Ministry said the explosives had been placed by a gang of Georgian suspects arrested over the past three months for allegedly staging a series of blasts last year near targets including the US embassy and Tbilisi`s main railway station, killing one person.

The ministry said the gang had carried out its "terrorist campaign" under orders from a Russian officer.

Experts defused the latest bombs, which were planted several months ago but did not go off and were discovered through information provided by the detained suspects, Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said.

"What should be stressed is that these devices were not a significant threat because the chance of them exploding was minimal," Utiashvili said.

There is still a possibility that yet more devices could be found, but they are also unlikely to explode, he said.

The Russian colonel accused of masterminding the campaign and another suspected Georgian accomplice are still wanted for questioning by police.

After the first arrests of bombing suspects in December, the Russian Foreign Ministry denied that Moscow was responsible and described the blasts as "a show, staged by the authorities in Tbilisi".

Political tensions have remained high between Georgia`s pro-Western government and the Kremlin since they fought a brief war in 2008.

Bureau Report



First Published: Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 16:28

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