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1ST LEAD Russia: CIA tip helped thwart St Petersburg bombing plot By Thomas Koerbel and Frank Fuhrig, dpa

Europe
17.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Moscow (dpa) - A tip from US intelligence helped Russian security agencies thwart a bombing plot against targets in St Petersburg, including Kazan Cathedral, the Kremlin said on Sunday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned US President Donald Trump to thank him "for information shared by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)," the Kremlin said.

The CIA tip "was enough to locate and detain the criminals," the statement said, adding that they had plotted explosions in St Petersburg‘s Kazan Cathedral and in other public places in the city.

Putin vowed that Russian authorities would "swiftly and unconditionally" reciprocate if they obtain intelligence about plots against the United States, state news agency TASS reported.

In April, an attack on an underground train in St Petersburg left 16 people dead.

Investigators identified the suicide bomber as 22-year-old Akbarzhon Jalilov, a Russian citizen born in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan. Authorities believe Jalilov was radicalized by Islamist extremists.

Russian investigators said in October that they had uncovered 20 terrorist cells this year and arrested or killed 120 alleged terrorists.

In July, the Federal Security Service said that seven people suspected of planning terrorist attacks on the railway system and in crowded places in St Petersburg were detained.

The suspects were from the volatile North Caucasus and Central Asia.

Central Asia is a predominantly Muslim region consisting of several former Soviet republics. St Petersburg and Moscow, Russia‘s two largest cities, have sizeable populations of migrant workers from that region.

Thousands of volunteers from Russia and Central Asia are thought to have gone to fight for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

 

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