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Russia's State Duma Approves Use of Anti-Terrorist Forces Abroad

The Lower House of Russia's Parliament (the State Duma) has voted to give President Vladimir Putin the right to use a special armed forces unit in fighting terrorism abroad.

Tuesday, Mr. Putin sought authorization from the upper house (the Federation Council) for similar powers.

Russia's Itar-Tass news agency quotes the State Duma Security Committee as saying Mr. Putin will have to notify the Federation Council in order to use the special forces unit.

According to the bill, the special forces unit would be required to defend the human rights of Russian citizens. The bill also authorizes the confiscation of funds, valuables and other property accumulated through terrorism.

Last week, Mr. Putin ordered the special forces to hunt down and destroy those responsible for killing four employees of Russia's embassy in Baghdad. They were killed several days after insurgents took them hostage.