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1 Apr, 2024 10:37

Recently detained militants linked to Moscow terror attack – FSB

Alleged terrorist cell members busted in Dagestan were involved in organizing the concert-hall massacre, according to the security service

A group of four militants captured on Sunday morning in Russia’s Dagestan had a role in financing and providing equipment for the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack earlier this month, the FSB stated on Monday.

The short statement described the outfit as a terrorist cell composed of foreign nationals, who were allegedly planning a mass-casualty attack in the southern city of Kaspiysk using automatic firearms and explosives. The group planned to escape Russia after carrying out the plot, the security service added.

The statement referred to “direct involvement” in the provision of finance and “means for terror” to the perpetrators of the March 22 massacre outside Moscow. The four alleged gunmen, whose attack at the concert venue claimed over 140 lives, were detained the next day, while purportedly trying to reach the Russia-Ukraine border.

In a video released by the FSB, the faces of the suspects were blurred. One of them said that he’d personally delivered firearms to the Crocus attackers. It also included CCTV footage apparently showing the man’s car driving around a particular street, presumably near where the suspected gunmen stayed.

Another part of the footage showed two of the suspected terrorists with a bunch of cash near an ATM, presumably to make a money transfer.

A total of 12 people have so far been detained in Russia for suspected links to the massacre at Crocus City Hall. Eight of them, including the alleged gunmen, face life imprisonment if convicted on terrorism charges brought against them.

The Afghanistan-based offshoot of the once-powerful terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), has claimed credit for the Crocus City Hall attack. However, the head of the FSB has claimed that the US, UK, and Ukraine may be linked to the crime, possibly having used radical Islamists to execute it.

If they had managed to escape to Ukraine, “they were to be welcomed as heroes,” Aleksandr Bortnikov said.

Russia’s Investigative Committee has reported that there is “substantiated evidence” that the suspects may be linked to Ukrainian nationalists as, before the attack, they had received “significant sums of money” from Ukraine, in the form of cryptocurrency.