U.S. warns of imminent Moscow attack by ‘extremists,’ urges citizens to avoid crowds

US citizens in Moscow have been warned to avoid large gatherings Friday and Saturday due to increased fears of a terrorist attack.

The US embassy in the Russian capital said it was “monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, including concerts, and that US citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings in the next 48 hours.” to avoid.”

U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, monitor local media for updates and “be aware of their surroundings,” a brief online update said.

The embassy did not elaborate on who or what poses the apparent threat to the Russian capital, or what type of attack might be imminent.

But Russia’s FSB security service said on Thursday it had thwarted a planned attack by an Afghan branch of the Islamic State group on a synagogue in the Kaluga region, southwest of Moscow.

“On the territory of the Kaluga region, the activities of Wilayat Khorasan, a cell of the Afghan branch of the international terrorist organization Islamic State, banned in Russia, whose members were planning to commit a terrorist act, were put to an end. commit against one of the Jewish religious institutions in Moscow,” the FSB said in a statement to state news agency Tass.

The FSB said the group planned to shoot members of the congregation. It added that its officers engaged in a gun battle with the militants before its officers “neutralized” them.

The case is being investigated in Russia as a conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack. The FSB said it had searched a building used by the group and found firearms, ammunition and materials for making an improvised explosive device.

It was not immediately clear whether the FSB statement was related to the US embassy warning.

The US has repeatedly urged its citizens to leave Russia as relations between the two countries spiral over the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine and the imprisonment of a number of Americans in Russian prisons.

Separately, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow sharply criticized Russia on Thursday for labeling three U.S. education and exchange organizations as “undesirable,” ending a 70-year tradition of young people traveling to each other’s countries.

The embassy said the decision was “a tragic illustration of the Kremlin’s desire to isolate its own people, depriving them of the opportunity to network, broaden their horizons and contribute to building a more prosperous and peaceful world.”

Russia said it had summoned US Ambassador Lynne Tracy to tell her that the three non-governmental organizations would be banned for “implementing anti-Russian programs and projects aimed at recruiting ‘agents of influence’ under the guise of educational and cultural exchanges.”

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