Steam rises from chimneys of a heating power plan over the skyline of central Moscow, Russia, Nov. 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

US Embassy Warns of Imminent Attack in Moscow by ‘Extremists’ After Authorities Say Synagogue Shooting Thwarted

By Reuters and Algemeiner Staff |

The US embassy in Russia warned that “extremists” had imminent plans for an attack in Moscow, hours after Russian security services said they had foiled a planned shooting at a synagogue by a cell from the Afghan arm of Islamic State.

The embassy, which has repeatedly urged all US citizens to leave Russia immediately, gave no further details about the nature of the threat, but said people should avoid concerts and crowds and be aware of their surroundings.

“The embassy is monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and US citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours,” the embassy said on its website.

It issued its warning several hours after Russia’s Federal Security Service, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, said it had foiled an attack on a synagogue in Moscow by a cell of the militant Sunni Muslim terrorist group Islamic State.

It was unclear if the two statements were linked.

The war in Ukraine has triggered the deepest crisis in Russia’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The Kremlin accuses the US of fighting against Russia by supporting Ukraine with money, weapons, and intelligence.

The FSB said an Islamic State cell was operating in Russia’s Kaluga region as part of the Afghan arm of the group, which is known as ISIS-Khorasan and seeks a caliphate across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Iran.

The group first appeared in eastern Afghanistan in late 2014 and established a reputation for extreme brutality.

The cell “was preparing to attack the congregants of a synagogue using firearms,” the FSB said.

When tackled, the militants offered resistance by Russian special forces and were “neutralized” by return fire, it said.

“Firearms, ammunition, as well as components for the manufacture of an improvised explosive device were found and seized,” the FSB said.

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