A T-34 Soviet-made tank and Russian servicemen take part in a rehearsal for a military parade at the Red Square in Moscow.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON -- Russian authorities said Wednesday they have foiled a plot by Islamic militants targeting the city of Moscow.
The alleged perpetrators were Russian nationals trained in Syria with Islamic State, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said.
In their raid of a Moscow apartment rented by the suspects, law enforcement discovered five kilograms of explosives that, according to the FSB statement, were intended for an attack against Moscow's public transportation system.
Up to 11 suspects frequented the apartment and are subject to the investigation. The development highlights the challenge facing Russia as it embarks on a military campaign against rebel groups and Islamic State militants in Syria.
"We must take preemptive action," Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday in an interview. Nearly 3,000 Russian nationals have reportedly traveled to Syria to fight with the Islamic extremist group. "There are risks, but let me say that these risks existed anyway, even before we began our operations in Syria."
The FSB says the Moscow terror cell began planning its attack well before Russian planes began striking Islamic State
last month. The goal of Russia's operation is to aid Syria's embattled president, Bashar Assad, Putin says.
Assad is a member of the Alawite tribe, a sect of Shia Islam. The majority of Russia's Muslim population is Sunni.