Source: Associated Press
By IRINA TITOVA and VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — As part of a sweeping hunt for any accomplices of the St. Petersburg suicide bomber, investigators Wednesday rounded up seven suspected Islamic State recruiters from the Central Asia region of the former Soviet Union but found no immediate evidence of their involvement in the subway attack.
The Investigative Committee hasn’t caught any associates of 22-year-old Akbarzhon Dzhalilov, a native of the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan. The committee, Russia’s top criminal investigation agency, said it’s looking into the possibility that Dzhalilov, who carried out Monday’s deadly attack, could have been linked to the militant group.
The impoverished, predominantly Muslim countries in Central Asia are seen as fertile ground for Islamic extremists, and thousands of their residents are believed to have joined IS in Syria and Iraq.
Meeting with the heads of security services from a regional alliance that includes most of Russia’s Central Asian neighbors, President Vladimir Putin warned that terror threats still loom over the region.