U.S. tells Russia that Krokus city hall may have been targeted

More than two weeks before terrorists launched a bloody attack on a Moscow suburb, the U.S. government told Russian officials that the popular concert venue Crokos City Hall was a potential target, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The high level of specificity expressed in the warning underscores Washington’s confidence that the Islamic State is preparing attacks that threaten large numbers of civilians and directly contradicts Moscow’s assertion that the U.S. warning is too general. Helps preemptive attacks.

The U.S. identification of the Crocus Concert Hall as a potential target, a fact that has not been previously reported, raises new questions about why Russian authorities failed to take stronger measures to protect the concert hall where a gunman killed 140 Several people gathered and set fire to the concert hall. building. A The Islamic State affiliate has taken credit for the attack, the worst fatality in Russia in 20 years. U.S. officials have publicly said the group takes “full responsibility,” but Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to pin the blame on Ukraine.

This attack further weakened image of strength and security Russia’s leaders sought to convey and expose fundamental weaknesses in the country’s security apparatus, which has been consumed by more than two years of war in Ukraine. At home, Putin’s operatives appear more concerned with suppressing political dissent and opposition to the president than rooting out terrorist plots, Russian political analysts and observers say.

the russian leader himself public rejection Just three days before the March 22 attack, the United States issued a warning calling it “outright extortion.” and seeking to “intimidate and destabilize our society.”

U.S. officials familiar with the information Washington shares with Moscow spoke on the matter Discuss sensitive conversations and intelligence anonymously. A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment. Previously, the National Security Council acknowledged that the United States had conveyed information “about a planned terrorist attack in Moscow,” but did not indicate that Crocus City Hall was listed as a possible terrorist attack site. Target.

A Kremlin spokesman did not respond to questions from The Washington Post about Krokus’s town hall warning. But Sergey Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday that the information shared by the United States was “too general and does not allow us to fully identify those who committed this horrific crime.” According to the state-run Interfax news agency.

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Naryshkin said Russia “took appropriate measures to prevent” the attack in response to U.S. intelligence. But video from the scene of the massacre showed the gunman faced no significant resistance. Russian media reported that specialized police units arrived more than an hour after the shooting and waited for more than 30 minutes before entering the building. By this time, the attacker had escaped.

While Washington often shares information about possible terrorist attacks with foreign countries under a policy known as the “duty to warn,” providing information about specific targets to adversaries is unusual, officials and experts said. Doing so could expose how the United States obtains intelligence, potentially putting covert surveillance activities or human resources at risk.

But information pointing to the concert hall attack also points to potential dangers Americans in Russia. March 7, U.S. Embassy public announcement It stated that “monitoring reports indicate that extremists are about to plan to target large gatherings in Moscow, including concerts” and advised American citizens to “avoid large gatherings in the next 48 hours.”

The United States shared the information with Russia the day before the public warning, according to people familiar with the matter. Naryshkin said “American intelligence agencies” had provided the information to the FSB, the Russian state security service.

Under the obligatory warning policy, the United States has also recently Sharing terrorist information with another adversary, Iran. In January, U.S. officials warned that Islamic State was planning attacks in the country, according to U.S. officials. Specific enough to potentially help Iranian authorities undermine the twins suicide bombing At least 95 people died in the city of Kerman. The Islamic State, which views Iran’s Shia Muslim majority as apostates, attacked thousands of mourners as they marked the fourth anniversary of the death of Major General Qasem Soleimani. In 2020, US drones launched attacks on Iraq.

this wall street journal First reported on U.S. warnings against Iran.

Despite the lack of effective security at Krokos City Hall, there are signs that the Russian government is taking the issue seriously, at least initially. Washington’s warning— It included information about plans by the Islamic State to attack synagogues, according to a U.S. official.The day after Moscow received the information, the Financial Stability Board announced that it had Stopped ISIS attack In a synagogue in Moscow.

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Islam Khalilov, 15, who said he was working in the concert hall’s cloakroom on the night of the attack, said Crocus staff were informed of the possibility shortly after a public warning on March 7 Terrorist attacks. “[W]We were warned of possible terrorist attacks and told what to do and where to take people,” Khalilov posted on YouTube to Dmitry Yegorov, a famous Russian sports journalist. Khalilov said the venue had stricter security checks, including trained dogs.

Why security measures were not tightened and maintained after the initial warning remains unclear. Some U.S. officials have speculated that Russian security services, which discovered shortly after March 7 that no attack had occurred, may have concluded that U.S. information was incorrect and let down their guard.

During a meeting with senior officials from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) on March 19, Putin publicly mocked what he viewed as terrorism warnings issued by “some official Western agencies.” “You are well aware of the warnings, so I will not reveal the details now,” Putin said, according to official Kremlin records.

Putin stressed that the FSB’s most important work was in Ukraine, as part of what he euphemistically called Russia’s “special military operations.” Putin equated Ukrainian troops with terrorists and suggested they posed a direct threat to Russia. Putin said the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv has also turned to terrorist tactics, including “attempts to recruit perpetrators of subversive and terrorist attacks against Russia’s critical infrastructure and public spaces.” “

After Russian authorities arrested suspects in the Krokus City Hall attack, Putin and other senior leaders claimed that Kiev hired the agents and made plans for them to flee to Ukraine, a claim that U.S. and Ukrainian officials denied accusation.

Russia has gratefully accepted U.S. aid in the past.twice during the president’s administration Donald TrumpPutin thanks Americans for sharing helpful information thwart terrorist attack Petersburg in 2017 and 2019.

Catherine Belton in London contributed to this report.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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