Iran warned Russia of security threat before Moscow attack: sources

Iran warned Russia of security threat before Moscow attack: sources
Iran warned Russia of security threat before Moscow attack: sources
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Iran warned Russia about the possibility of a major “terrorist operation” on its territory before the concert hall massacre near Moscow last month, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

In the deadliest attack inside Russia in 20 years, gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons on concertgoers on March 22 at the Crocus City Hall, killing at least 144 people in violence claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

“Days before the attack in Russia, Tehran shared information with Moscow about a possible major terrorist attack inside Russia that was acquired during interrogations of those arrested in connection with deadly attacks in Iran,” a source said.

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said in January it had arrested 35 people in connection with two bombings on Jan. 3 in the southeastern city of Kerman that killed nearly 100 people. On January 19, the ministry said it arrested a commander of Isis-Khorasan (Isis-K), an Islamic State affiliate based in Afghanistan.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the explosions in Iran, the bloodiest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. US intelligence sources said Isis-K carried out the January 3 attacks in Iran and March 22 attacks in Moscow.

Islamic State once occupied large swaths of Iraq and Syria, imposing a reign of terror and inspiring lone wolf attacks in Western countries, but was declared territorially defeated in 2017.

However, Isis-K, one of its most fearsome offshoots, has again raised the group’s profile with large-scale bloodshed.

Isis-K, named after an ancient term for a region encompassing parts of Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, emerged in eastern Afghanistan in late 2014 and quickly established a reputation for extreme brutality.

“SIGNIFICANT OPERATION”

A second source, who also requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said information Tehran provided Moscow about an imminent attack lacked specific details about the timing and exact target.

“They (Isis-K members) were instructed to prepare for a significant operation in Russia… One of the terrorists (arrested in Iran) said that some members of the group had already traveled to Russia,” the second source said .

A third source, a senior security official, said: “As Iran has been a victim of terrorist attacks for years, Iranian authorities have fulfilled their obligation to warn Moscow based on information obtained from arrested terrorists.”

Asked about the Reuters report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday: “I don’t know anything about it.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment on this report. The White House did not comment on the matter.

A source familiar with US intelligence on an imminent attack in Russia said it was based on intercepts of “conversations” between Isis-K militants.

Challenging US claims, Russia said it believed Ukraine was linked to the attack, without providing evidence. Kiev vehemently denied the claim.


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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Iran warned Russia security threat Moscow attack sources

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