The US has informed Russia that the Crocus Hall concert hall is a potential target for a terrorist attack, according to WP

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More than two weeks before terrorists carried out a bloody attack on the outskirts of Moscow, the US government tipped off Russian officials that Crocus Hall, a popular concert hall, was a potential target, according to US officials familiar with the matter. by the Washington Post.

The attackers set fire to the roof before leaving PHOTO AFP

The attackers set fire to the roof before leaving PHOTO AFP

A warning characterized by such a degree of specificity highlights Washington’s confidence that the Islamic State was preparing an attack threatening large numbers of civilians and directly contradicts Moscow’s claims that the American warnings were too general to help anticipate the attack.

An Islamic State branch claimed responsibility for the attack, the bloodiest in 20 years to hit Russia. US officials have publicly stated that the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) group “is solely responsible”; however, Russian President Vladimir Putin has tried to shift the blame to Ukraine.

The Russian leader himself publicly rejected the US warnings just three days before the March 22 attack, calling them “pure blackmail” and attempts to “intimidate and destabilize our society”.

US officials familiar with the information Washington shared with Moscow spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the conversations and information. A spokesman for the National Security Council (NSC) declined to comment. Previously, the NSC acknowledged that the United States had passed on information “about a planned terrorist attack in Moscow”but did not specify that Crocus Hall had been mentioned as a possible target.

A Kremlin spokesman did not respond to The Washington Post’s questions about the warning.

But on Tuesday, Sergei Narishkin, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, told reporters in Moscow that the information shared by the United States was much “too general and did not allow us to fully identify those who committed this terrible crime,” according to the state agency Interfax.

Naryshkin stated that, in response to the American intelligence, Russia “took appropriate measures to prevent” uin attack.

Russian media reported that specialized police units only arrived more than an hour after the terrorists began firing on spectators, and then waited more than 30 minutes before entering the building, during which time the attackers managed to escape.

On March 7, the US Embassy publicly announced that “is monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, including concerts” and advised American citizens “to avoid large gatherings for the next 48 hours.”

The United States informed Russia a day before the public warning, according to people familiar with the matter. Naryshkin said “American intelligence agencies” passed the information to the FSB, Russia’s federal security service.

“We were warned that there could be terrorist attacks and we were instructed on what to do and where to take people.”15-year-old Islam Khalilov, who was working as a wardrobe on the night of the attack, told a popular Russian sports journalist.

Khalilov explained that stricter security checks were carried out at the location, including with the help of specially trained dogs.

It is unclear why security was not increased and maintained after the initial warning, however. It is possible that Russian security services, after nothing happened in the following days, assumed that the American information was incorrect and let their guard down, some of the American officials speculated.

“You know them very well, so I won’t go into details at this time,” Putin told senior FSB officials on March 19, according to an official Kremlin transcript.

“The neo-Nazi regime in Kiev has also turned to terrorist tactics,” Putin emphasized, including “attempts to recruit perpetrators of subversive and terrorist attacks targeting critical infrastructure and public spaces in Russia”.

The article is in Romanian

Tags: informed Russia Crocus Hall concert hall potential target terrorist attack

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