Moscow- Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) said there is a drop in terrorist activity in Russia.
NAC said on Tuesday that the country “liquidated” more than 140 alleged terrorists working in Russia in 2016.
Igor Kulyagin, first deputy director for the NAC, said at a press briefing in Moscow that more than 140 militants, including 24 leaders, were killed, and more than 900 gunmen and their accomplices were detained last year.
A large amount of weapons and ammunition was seized from the militants and some 199 self-made explosive devices were defused, he added.
He noted that in 2016 anti-terrorist activities were carried out amid the high level of terror threats emanating from the international terrorist groups and gang leaders operating in Russia.
“Accounts of more than 2,000 persons involved in terrorist activities were blocked in Russia in 2016, while the activities of 34 recruiters to terrorist organizations were thwarted,” Kulyagin said.
“Some Russian citizens were prevented from traveling abroad to join terrorist organizations.”
Regarding the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in Russia from June 14 to July 15 next year, Kulyagin said Russia will be able to secure the games, citing the country’s experience in organizing past international events and the government’s counter-terrorism measures.
The international terrorist organizations are increasingly active in trying to implement terrorist attacks in Russia.
“Over 40 terrorism-related crimes were prevented while they were still being prepared,” he said.
According to Kulyagin, terrorist attacks were thwarted in Moscow, particularly near the French embassy, as well as in St. Petersburg and in the Republic of Ingushetia.
On May 2, 2016, members of ISIS, outlawed in Russia, were arrested, and it turned out they had been plotting to carry out terrorist attacks in Moscow during the May holiday season and the Ice Hockey World Championships.
Besides that, ISIS supporters planning to carry out terrorist attacks in the city of Krasnoyarsk on May 9, as well as members of a terror group preparing attacks in St. Petersburg and in the Moscow region, were also arrested.
In Ingushetia, five members of a militant group were identified. They planned to conduct terror attacks in Moscow during the Christmas holiday season, particularly near the French embassy.
On December 28-29, 2016, ISIS cell members, preparing terror attacks in Moscow during the Christmas holiday season upon instructions from a Syrian militant group head, were arrested in Dagestan.
“These atrocious crimes could have claimed the lives of thousands of civilians,” Kulyagin said.
“Joint efforts by various agencies in the territory of the North Caucasus have brought about a steady decline in terrorist crimes, such as shootouts, mine explosions and attacks by armed gangs. Their number has reduced by 40% in contrast to 2014 and by 11% against 2015,” he said.
Kulyagin noted the effectiveness of counter-terrorist operations against the backdrop of their further reduction by 50% in comparison with 2014.
For his part, Adviser to the Chairman of Russia’s NAC Andrei Przhezdomsky said the number of Russian nationals recruited to ISIS terrorist group is decreasing.
“There has been a decline in replenishment of ISIS’ units from Russia’s territory,” he said.