Russia thwarts plot to bomb chemical weapons facility

Russia thwarts plot to bomb chemical weapons facility
Russian authorities have arrested two men from the North Caucasus for planning a suspected terror attack on a chemical weapons destruction facility. Investigators said the attack could have led to hundreds of deaths in the city of Kirov.

Investigators believe the two men were plotting to bomb a chemical weapons storage and destruction facility in Russia’s Kirov Region, 1,000km east of Moscow. The suspects are thought to belong to the fundamentalist Wahhabi Islamist movement.

“The investigation indicates the suspects are followers of Wahhabism and arrived in the Kirov region from Moscow,” said the spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin. He added that the suspects were plotting an attack in a bid to influence the government and international organizations.

Investigators did not specify which organizations, or how the suspected terrorists would attempt to influence them.

Russian authorities raided the abandoned property where the suspects, aged 21 and 19, were residing. The two men were reportedly in possession of "literature with extremist content" and one of them allegedly resisted arrest. Furthermore, investigators found and confiscated the components of a homemade, explosive device on the premises as well as two international passports.

A hideout was also discovered by authorities 500 meters from the Maradykovo facility, along with maps and components to make a bomb. 

Screenshot from Investigative Committee's video

“After executing the terrorist act the suspects planned to go abroad to an international terrorist training camp to gather the necessary skills to carry out a range of different terrorist activities,”said a press release from the Kirov Federal Security Service Directorate. 

The two men are currently in police custody and are awaiting trial on the charges set against them.

Authorities said that their capture averted an attack on the Maradykovo chemical facility that could have claimed hundreds of lives.

Russia is part of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and is currently in the process of destroying its chemical weapons arsenal.

The North Caucasus – where the suspects are believed to be from – is a predominantly Muslim region in the South of Russia. Russian security forces are attempting to weed out extremist groups that have entrenched themselves in the mountainous area.

Screenshot from Investigative Committee's video