Russia says it thwarted Islamic State plot to attack Moscow synagogue

State media says suspects resisted arrest, were ‘neutralized’ by return fire; authorities seize weapons, improvised explosive during raid

FSB officers find weapons they say belonged to an Islamic State cell, in Kaluga, Russia, March 7, 2024. (Social Media/X: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Russia’s FSB security service said Thursday it had killed Islamic State militants who were planning a “terrorist attack” on a Moscow synagogue, Russian state news agencies reported.

The FSB said an ISIS cell based in Kaluga, southwest of Moscow, had been planning to shoot Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in the capital.

“While being arrested, the terrorists put up armed resistance to the Russian FSB officers, and as a result were neutralized by return fire,” the state-owned TASS news agency quoted the security service as saying in a statement.

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

The Zvezda news outlet, close to Russia’s army and security apparatus, published an FSB video appearing to show two dead bodies inside a house, alongside guns, ammunition, and knives found during a search.

The FSB did not say how many people were killed in the operation.

It said the fighters were members of the Afghan branch of Islamic State but did not state their citizenship.

Russian authorities frequently announce the thwarting of planned attacks by suspected Islamist groups.

Earlier this month the FSB said it killed six suspected ISIS fighters in the Muslim-majority southern region of Ingushetia.

Tensions between Russia’s Muslim and Jewish communities have flared at times during the Israel-Hamas war, which was sparked when Hamas-led terrorists rampaged through southern communities, slaughtering some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking 253 hostages to Gaza.

Last October, protestors stormed an airport in Dagestan, another Muslim-majority region in the Caucasus, after a plane arrived from Tel Aviv.

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