US Embassy Warned Russia of Terrorist Attack and Putin Ignored It



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Friday evening, Moscow time, four or five armed men strolled into the Crocus Concert Hall in northwest Moscow and opened fire on the crowd. Before departing the area they had killed at least 40 people and wounded over 100 more.

 


BACKGROUND: (UPDATED): Terror Attack in Moscow Concert Hall – Multiple Fatalities Reported


My colleague, Ward Clark, has some good observations; the only one I’d add is that at least two of the attackers had trouble managing magazine changes.


READ: The Moscow Terror Attack: Some Initial Thoughts and Impressions


While Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Russian Security Council, hinted that Ukraine had been behind the attack and threatened to commit atrocities that the Russians have failed to commit so far should Ukraine be involved, ISIS quickly claimed responsibility.


READ: NEW: ISIS Claims Responsibility for Moscow Attack in Surprise Twist, Skepticism Follows


This is not a huge shock. Russia has a counterinsurgency operation underway in two North Caucasus areas of the Russian Federation: Dagestan and Ingushetia. On March 3, a Russian commando operation (or what the Russians think of as a commando operation) killed six Islamic fighters in Ingushetia.

This insurgency and the fact that Moscow has the largest Muslim population of any European (to the extent that Russia is a European nation) capital nearly preordained a strike in the capital. This would not be the first time. In 2002, Chechens took over the Dubrovka Theater and when the Spetsnaz were finished, 132 hostages were killed and over 700 wounded, in addition to 40 Chechen fighters.

What makes the whole story more interesting is that on March 7, the US Embassy in Moscow issued a public warning that a terrorist attack on a concert venue was imminent.

The US warning was joined by similar warnings from multiple foreign embassies in Russia.

Reacting to that intelligence, the FSB rolled up an ISIS cell in a Moscow suburb.

On March 9, Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee (KNB) confirmed media reports that two Kazakh citizens had been killed by law enforcement in Russia. 

Two days earlier, on March 7, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had stopped an Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) cell from carrying out a terrorist attack targeting a synagogue.

“On the territory of the Kaluga Region, a stop was put to the activity of Wilayat Khorasan, a cell of the Afghan branch of the international terrorist organization Islamic State, which is banned in Russia, whose members were planning to commit a terrorist act against one of the Jewish religious institutions in Moscow,” the FSB said in a statement to the state-run TASS news agency.

The Russian expat Telegram news channel Meduza points out that US warnings were not welcome.

Telegraph channel Meduza has highlighted that on March 19, Vladimir Putin dismissed alerts from U.S. diplomats regarding a potential terrorist attack on a densely populated venue in Moscow. The Russian leader denounced the American cautionary advice as “blackmail” from the West, aiming to “intimidate and destabilize our society”.

If this is true, it shows that there were persistent reports of an attack on a concert venue that did not end with the destruction of the ISIS cell on March 7 that were ignored by Russian authorities starting at the top. The fact that the concert attacked on Friday had no security, when it clearly met the description of the target in the warnings, shows that the threat was ignored.





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