The Georgian State Security Service, amongst other collaborating agencies, arrested 6 citizens of the South Caucasus country for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks, as well as possession of weapons and explosives. Special tactical units were deployed to 4 locations where they had been planning attacks in a variety of unnamed countries.
According to the State Security Service (SSSG), the charges include joining a foreign extremist organization, supporting it in extremist activities, illegal purchase/storage of a firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition and explosive substances.
“As a result of large-scale special operation and on the basis of a court ruling, the Counterterrorism Center of the State Security Service detained supporters of the terrorist organization – ISIS. The counterterrorism operation has been simultaneously carried out on 4 sites. 6 citizens of Georgia have been arrested,” the service said in a statement.
During the operations, several extremist symbols, flags, and paraphernalia were taken as evidence, as well as “electronic data devices, ammunition, explosive materials and various important pieces of evidence”.
“Within the framework of this investigation, based on collected evidence, the Counterterrorism Center revealed certain terrorist activities in the territory of various countries and in light of the increased threat, information was timely shared with partner countries,” they added.
This comes after another citizen of Georgia was arrested on May 6, 2023 reportedly for having involvement with the “Islamic State” and possessing “electronic media devices, where satellite images of the strategic facilities of capitals of the USA and European countries were found.”
Prior to this, Georgian security officials had announced the capture of Malkhaz Paksashvili, a leader of one of the group’s combat units and who took part in combat operations in Syria from 2013 to 2015. “The detainee had a close relationship with the high-ranking military commanders of the Islamic State and held the position of “deputy” of one of the groups of the mentioned terrorist organization,” the SSSG announced at the time.
Georgia has had periodic incidents with extremist elements, particularly in its remote northeast Pankisi Gorge where militants had sparred with Georgian security forces since the early 2000s.