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Russia arrests 55 terror suspects

By CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty

A suicide attack last Thursday killed 17 Russian armed forces personnel.
A suicide attack last Thursday killed 17 Russian armed forces personnel.

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MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Russian authorities have arrested 55 people they accuse of belonging to an Islamic terrorist group suspected of having ties to Chechen rebels, officials told CNN Monday.

Authorities identified those arrested as members of the Party of Islamic Liberation and said all were living in Russia illegally.

They accused the group of supporting "illegal armed formations" in the northern Caucasus, where Russian troops are battling Islamic militants in the breakaway republic of Chechnya, and unspecified international terrorist groups.

Raids by the Federal Security Service and Interior Ministry forces also turned up small quantities of plastic explosives, detonators and detonator cord, three hand grenades and literature about the group.

Russian troops have been battling Chechen separatists for most of the last decade. In the past month, a series of suicide attacks against Russian forces in the region have killed more than 70 people.


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