Russia’s FSB spy agency says a terrorism suspect who is believed to have planned an attack on civilians in St Petersburg had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
The FSB released a video which it said it had seized in the suspects’ apartment. It allegedly shows one of them swearing a vow to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Isis leader who was killed by US forces in October.
The man in the video wore a mask with only his eyes showing. He spoke in Arabic with a Russian accent, reports said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday to thank him for intelligence that helped prevent terrorist acts as the country prepares to celebrate the New Year’s holidays.
While the Kremlin didn’t provide any details in its statement, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, said it arrested two people in St. Petersburg who were planning attacks during the holidays based on information from the U.S.
This is the fourth straight year the FSB has announced that it interrupted terrorist attacks planned to disrupt the New Year’s holidays, which last through the first week of January in Russia,
Footage published by Russian media showed FSB officers detaining two men in a wintry street and the stairwell of an apartment building on December 27. The team is believed to have confiscated a box of gun cartridges, knives and cable. An operative also showed a camera, a black item of clothing, a black cap and a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses in a pouch — presumably a disguise.
The FSB said the two men had been caught with evidence that they were preparing an attack and had confessed, but gave no further details. A criminal investigation was opened on a charge of terrorism. Neither of the suspects was named. Both are Russian citizens.
One has now been named by TASS news agency
A district court in St. Petersburg has sanctioned the arrest of one of the two Russian nationals, Georgy Chernyshev, who were detained on Sunday for plotting terror attacks during the New Year holidays, the press service of the St. Petersburg courts said on Monday.
The Dzerzhinsky district court’s session was held behind closed doors.
Chernyshev was charged with participation in terrorist activity (part 2, article 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code). The man’s defense lawyers asked the court to place him under house arrest but the court rules to place him in custody till February 29, 2020.
Apart from that, the court plans to impose a pre-trial restraint on the other suspect.