Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 42

Police officers in Dagestan’s Levashi district on November 10 discovered five large explosive devices in a house in the village of Okhli. Citing the press office of the local Interior Ministry department, the Regnum news agency reported that the devices were found in the house of Ismail Omarov, who had been detained earlier. Omarov was described as a member of the group led by Rasul Makasharipov, the leader of the Sharia Jamaat who was killed earlier this year. The militants were allegedly planning a terrorist attack timed to coincide with the Muslim festival of Uraza Bairam marking the end of Ramadan, but had changed their plans, deciding instead to stage an attack on November 12, when the International Free-Style Wrestling tournament is scheduled to start in Levashi. Dagestani leader Magomedali Magomedov and other top republic officials were to attend the tournament and hand out prizes. It is worth noting, as newsru.com reported, that November 10 was also Police Day. The Sharia Jamaat and its predecessor, Jennet (Paradise), have assassinated dozens of Dagestani police officers.

Meanwhile, the Sharia Jamaat issued several statements that were posted on the separatist Daymohk and Kavkazcenter websites on November 4 and 5. In one of them, the militant Islamist group accused Dagestan’s Muslim clergy of having “turned Islam into a feeding trough for themselves and their relatives” and turned mosques into “business centers where they do whatever they like, except worship Islam.” The statement cited top officials of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Dagestan by name and said that they and all of their “imam-proteges” were being “stripped of their immunity” and would now become legitimate “military targets.” In its other statement, the Sharia Jamaat declared that while armed jihad is not an end in itself, it is today “the only correct way to uphold the honour and dignity of Muslims, to protect their individual and religious freedom, to help their oppressed brothers and sisters and to draw Muslims from the shadows of the kufr [disbelief] to the light of Sharia.”