Over 50 Muslims arrested, explosives found in illegal prayer hall in southern Russia

An illegal prayer hall has been discovered in the southern Russian city of Samara. During a law enforcement special operation, more than 50 “bearded men” were detained at the scene, with police now checking their identities, according to a security source.

A prayer hall which had not been registered with any official religious body was discovered in the suburbs of Samara, a source in law enforcement confirmed to RT on Friday.

The hall was a place for Salafis to gather. Salafis are followers of an ultra-conservative movement within Sunni Islam.

“When our forces entered the premises today, they discovered over 50 bearded men there,” the source said, adding that all of them have been then delivered to a police station, where further checks are now underway.

“Their identities are being investigated, to find out whether any of them are complicit in any crimes or are part of international terror organizations,” the source added.

An unidentified substance was also found at the place of the fundamentalists’ gathering. According to preliminary analysis, it could be an explosive.

Extremist literature was also discovered in the hall, Interfax reported.

Members of the Salafi group have previously been on a Russian security forces list, the agency reported citing an FSB official. Some of them have been associated with ISIS, he said, adding that while some members have been fighting in Syria, one particular man from Samara voiced one of ISIS terrorists’ videos on Youtube.

Further searches are conducted at the scene.