Russian Intelligence Documents Suggest Kremlin Knew of ISIS Threat Before Concert Hall Attack

Russian Intelligence Documents Suggest Kremlin Knew of ISIS Threat Before Concert Hall Attack

Moscow : Russian intelligence documents obtained by the UK-based investigative organization, the Dossier Center, suggest that the Kremlin's security services had prior knowledge of an ISIS threat in the days leading up to a deadly assault on a concert hall near Moscow. These documents revealed the potential involvement of ethnic Tajiks radicalized by ISIS-K, the Central Asian faction of the terrorist group ISIS.

The attack, which occurred at Crocus City Hall, resulted in the tragic loss of at least 143 lives, marking one of the deadliest incidents in Russia in decades. ISIS subsequently claimed responsibility for the assault, disseminating statements, photos, and a propaganda video filmed by the assailants.

The Dossier Center, founded by exiled former Russian oil tycoon turned Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has a track record of uncovering sensitive information about Russian President Vladimir Putin and his administration. Utilizing documents and leaks sourced from within the Russian government, the organization has shed light on various aspects of Putin's regime.

According to the latest report from the Dossier Center released on Sunday, a few days before the terrorist attack, members of the Security Council received a warning regarding the potential use of Tajik citizens in terrorist activities on Russian soil. The report suggests that even before the assault on Crocus City Hall, a source close to the intelligence services had informed the Dossier Center about this concerning development.

Despite the gravity of these revelations, the Kremlin has yet to issue a response to CNN's inquiries regarding the Dossier Center's report. Shocking footage of the attack depicted the harrowing scenes as victims fled for their lives and sought refuge amidst the chaos, with the concert venue engulfed in flames.

Four suspects, hailing from the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan and employed in Russia on temporary or expired visas, appeared in court earlier this week to face terror charges. Three of the suspects pleaded guilty, as reported by Russian media, while displaying visible signs of injury.

While diplomatic tensions between Washington and Moscow remain strained, the United States had previously warned Russia of the heightened threat posed by ISIS militants planning an attack within the country. The warning, issued in March, came as part of the "duty to warn" policy, with the US Embassy highlighting the increased risk of terror attacks on Russian soil.

In response to these warnings, Putin dismissed the American alerts as "provocative," accusing the US of engaging in blackmail and intimidation tactics. Despite Putin's dismissive stance, former Russian lawmaker Ilya Ponomarev, a vocal critic of the Kremlin now in exile, emphasized the serious questions raised by the latest evidence regarding the Russian leadership's handling of security threats.

The attack on Crocus City Hall echoes previous incidents attributed to ISIS-K, including a deadly assault on the Russian embassy in Kabul in 2022. Additionally, German authorities arrested individuals from Tajikistan suspected of plotting an attack on Cologne Cathedral in the following year, further underscoring the global reach of ISIS-K and the ongoing threat posed by radicalized individuals.

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