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Police Say Arrested 'Key Figure' Behind Blasts
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 17 Feb.'11 / 17:54

Georgian Interior Ministry said on Thursday it arrested on February 16 Merab Kolbaia, who was described as “one of the key figures responsible for terrorist acts organized by Russian intelligence forces”.

In December the Interior Ministry announced about the arrest of six Georgian citizens suspected of being behind series of blasts in September and November including those, which occurred close to the U.S. embassy on September 22 and outside the Labor Party office in Tbilisi on November 28, which killed a woman.

At the time the Interior Ministry said that Kolbaia was wanted by the police and that he was “hiding in the Russian occupied Gali district” in Abkhazia.

The Interior Ministry did not give details on location where Kolbaia was arrested, citing sensitivity of the operation.

The ministry said that two other men, also suspected in connection to the same case, were also arrested on February 16. According to the Interior Minister the two men, residents of Zugdidi district, were involved in a failed attempt to explode a railway bridge in Samegrelo region, as well as in a blast outside a supermarket in Tbilisi suburb on November 28.

In December Georgia requested Russia for cooperation in resolving the case. According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, the request was made through Switzerland, which represents Russia's diplomatic interests in Georgia and Georgia's interests in Russia after the two countries cut diplomatic ties following the August, 2008 war.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in December, that the explosions in Georgia, which Tbilisi claims were masterminded by a Russian army officer serving in Abkhazia, were “a provocation” and “show” staged by the Georgian authorities themselves.

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