Russia detains alleged banned Islamists in Petersburg

Russian security officials in the country`s second city of Saint Petersburg have detained alleged members of banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, Russia`s FSB security agency said today.

Saint Petersburg: Russian security officials in the country`s second city of Saint Petersburg have detained alleged members of banned Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, Russia`s FSB security agency said today.

Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation) seeks to re-establish a caliphate -- a pan-Islamic state based on Islamic rule harking to the mediaeval era -- and has been banned in Russia since 2003.

"People linked to the organisation of the activities of a Saint Petersburg cell of the international terrorist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir were detained," a statement from the federal security service (FSB) said.

The security agency did not specify the number of those held but local news reports said some 20 people were detained following a string of raids on apartments and hostels across the city today morning.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in many countries and is pursued with particular vigour in the Muslim but highly secular ex-Soviet Central Asian states.

In Russia, the group has been active in the Northern Caucasus as well as in the mainly Muslim Volga regions of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan.

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