Russian security services say they have prevented an attack planned by a terrorist cell. An improvised explosive device and a hand grenade were found in a car during an operation in the western Saratov region.
A statement on Sunday’s operation was released by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), although it gave few details.
The members of the terrorist cell were shot dead as they opened fire at security forces, who tried to stop their car. Guns, a hand grenade and a homemade 3kg TNT explosive device were found at the scene, according to the FSB.
Saratov is around 800km to the southeast of Moscow. The security services have launched a criminal investigation into the terrorist plot.
In February, the FSB prevented a string of terrorist attacks targeting public places and public transport in St. Petersburg. Earlier that month, the security forces eliminated a terrorist suspect linked to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, who was plotting a high-profile attack during the 2018 presidential election. Another terrorist attack targeting the vote and New Year’s festivities was thwarted in mid-December last year.
In 2017 alone, the security services foiled more than 60 terrorism-related plots, including 18 attacks, according to the FSB’s director and head of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, Aleksandr Bortnikov.