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Terrorists arrested before bombing in St. Petersburg

In a rare development while east met the west, Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked his US counterpart, Donald Trump, for thwarting the planned terrorist attacks by sharing CIA information. The information helped Russian secret agency FSB in arresting a group of terrorists plotting bomb attacks in St. Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral and in other crowded places in the second largest Russian city.

TASS news agency, quoting the Kremlin press service, said that Putin initiated the telephonic conversation with Trump on Sunday.  This was second time when the two leaders exchanged praise within a week.

“The Russian president thanked his US counterpart for information shared by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that helped trace, expose and detain a group of terrorists who had plotted explosions in St. Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral and in other crowded places in that city,” the press service said.

According to Putin, the CIA information was enough to expose and detain the criminals. He asked Trump to convey thanks to the concerned intelligence officers who had obtained the information.

The Russian president reassured the US president that “Russian security services, should they have information about possible terrorist threats to the United States and its citizens, will swiftly and unconditionally share it with the US colleagues via partner channels,” the press service stressed.

It statement issued by Kremlin press service stressed that the cooperation “serves as an example of the positive things that can occur when our countries work together.”

The press office of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) reported earlier that seven members of a terrorist cell had been detained on Friday for plotting terror attacks. They planned to commit a series of murders and improvised bomb attacks in crowded places in St. Petersburg on December 16. One of those detained confessed to court he had planned a bomb attack in the city’s landmark Kazan Cathedral.

The Russian agencies have claimed of confiscating large number of explosives used in making bombs, automatic rifles, munitions and extremist literature.

Earlier on Tuesday, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov said that Russia was on alert for possible return of jihadists from Syria before the World Cup and the presidential election in 2018.

In April this year, 14 people were killed in a bombing on the Saint Petersburg metro.

Russian forces played important role in crushing Daesh (IS) and other rebel groups in Syria. Some 40,000 fighters travelled from all over the world, including Russia, to join Daesh (IS) in Syria after the declaration of self-styled “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq in 2014.

Earlier on Thursday, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed the North Korean crisis over its nuclear programme. At that time Trump took the unusual step of thanking his Russian counterpart for hailing the US economy.

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