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Azeri forces kill would-be suicide bomber

Agents of Azerbaijan's state security service have gunned down a man who tried to detonate his suicide belt near a shopping mall in Baku. The Azeri national was previously convicted for being a member of a terror group.

The terrorist was killed during a "special operation" on Saturday, the state security service said in a statement.

Initially, the agents tried to arrest the 38-year old Emin Jami near a mall in the nation's capital of Baku.

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"He resisted during the arrest and attempted to detonate his suicide belt, but he was taken out by the tactical unit," the statement said.

Jami was convicted for membership in a terror group in 2007 and has spent nine years in jail.

"After leaving prison earlier this year, he once again swore allegiance to representatives of international terrorist organizations and illegal militias involved in conflicts abroad," according to the Friday statement. "He has been planning to commit terror strikes on Azerbaijan's territory with the use of firearms and explosive devices."

Activist decry Baku regime

The ex-Soviet republic of Azerbaijan has a population of about 10 million, most of them secular Shiite Muslims. The sectarian divide between Shiite and Sunni is far less pronounced than in other countries in the region. Additionally, Baku shares close linguistic and cultural ties with the dominantly Sunni Turkey, and the country is also allied with the West.

Azeri economy has been growing due to booming oil exports.

Human rights activists accuse the country's authoritarian president Ilham Aliyev for arrests and intimidation of political opponents. The 53-year Aliyev has taken the reins after the death of his father in 2003 and some observers believe he might try to pass the power on to his children.

dj/rc (Reuters, AP, Interfax)

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