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Moscow: US Embassy warns of imminent 'extremist' attack

March 8, 2024

The alert came just hours after Russian security services said they had foiled a planned shooting at a synagogue.

A Russian flag flies next to the US embassy building in Moscow
The US Embassy in Moscow has urged American citizens to leave Russia immediatelyImage: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

The United States Embassy in Russia has issued an alert regarding "imminent plans" by "extremists" to target large gatherings in Moscow in the coming days.

The embassy, which has repeatedly urged all US citizens to leave Russia immediately amid rising tensions between the two countries, gave no further details about the nature of the threat.

But it said people should avoid large crowds and events such as concerts and be generally aware of their surroundings.

"The Embassy is monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and US citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours," the embassy said on its website.

The warning comes just hours after Russian security services (FSB) said they had foiled a planned shooting at a synagogue by a cell from the Afghan arm of the so-called "Islamic State" militant group.

It was not immediately clear whether the two developments were linked.

Islamic extremism in Russia

There have been rising tensions in parts of Russia between the country's Muslim and Jewish communities since the Israel-Hamas war. 

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

Antisemitic sentiments boiled over in October last year when a crowd stormed an airport in Makhachkala, in the Republic of Dagestan in southern Russia, in search of Israeli citizens after word spread that a flight had arrived from Tel Aviv.

Russia accused Ukraine of fomenting the riot, saying it played a direct role, a claim Kyiv denied.

Russia's ongoing assault on Ukraine, which President Vladimir Putin calls a "special military operation," has triggered the deepest crisis in Russian relations with the West since the Cold War.

Is Russia preparing for war with NATO?

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mf/rc (Reuters)