The Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked his US counterpart Donald Trump for help in preventing a terrorist attack in St. Petersburg.
The CIA tip-off allowed Russia’s top domestic security agency, the FSB, to track down and arrest a group of suspects who were planning to bomb the city’s Kazan Cathedral and other crowded sites, the Kremlin said.
The White House later said in a statement: “President Trump appreciated the call and told President Putin that he and the entire United States intelligence community were pleased to have helped save so many lives.” The White House also confirmed that US intelligence agencies provided Russia with information “concerning a major terror plot in St. Petersburg.”
The White House did not disclose details about the plot itself, but said the attack “could have killed large numbers of people”.
Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, announced on Friday that seven suspected followers of the Islamic State group had been arrested for allegedly planning to carry out terror attacks in St Petersburg on December 16.
The agency said the suspects were plotting a suicide bombing in a church and a series of other explosions in the city’s busiest areas on IS orders.
It said a search of a St Petersburg apartment found explosives, automatic weapons and extremist literature.
Russian news reports said the Kazan Cathedral was the prime target.
The White House seized on the foiled plot as a sign of what Moscow and Washington could do if they cooperate.
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