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article imageAzerbaijan kills two suspected 'terrorists'

By AFP     Oct 28, 2016 in World

Azerbaijani security services have killed two men suspected of plotting "terrorist attacks" in the secular ex-Soviet country with a mainly Muslim population, authorities said Friday.

The two Azerbaijani nationals were shot dead during a special operation on Wednesday night, the oil-rich Caucasus nation's State Security Service said in a statement, adding that another suspected "terrorist" had been arrested.

The three suspects had been mandated by "foreign radical religious terrorist groups" to create an armed group known as the Caucasus Jamaat to carry out attacks in the country of 9.5 million, authorities said.

"The armed group, the Caucasus Jamaat, has been planning terrorist attacks in Azerbaijan and had links with terrorist organisations involved in armed conflicts abroad," the statement said without giving further details.

One of the two suspects killed in the operation had allegedly attempted to detonate a hand grenade as security officers tried to apprehend him.

In February, Azerbaijan arrested eight men for fighting alongside the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria and Iraq.

Local media had previously reported numerous cases of Azerbaijani nationals fighting alongside IS jihadists, including within the ranks of the Jaish al-Muhajireen wal Ansar (JMA) group consisting mostly of Islamists from the former Soviet Union.

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