MOSCOW, Russia: Russia’s FSB security service said Wednesday it had foiled an attack by supporters of the Islamic State group on the far eastern island of Sakhalin, an oil and gas hub.
The FSB said in a statement it had detained two alleged IS supporters on Sakhalin who were planning “to commit a high-profile terrorist attack in a crowded place,” RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Sakhalin island is located in the Pacific Ocean north of Japan and its rich oil and gas fields have drawn billions of dollars of investment from Russian gas giant Gazprom, Shell and others.
The security service said house searches of those detained on Sakhalin had found a homemade explosive device and cell phones with instructions on how to make bombs on them.
The FSB said one of the men detained was a “citizen of one of the Central Asian republics”—meaning the five ex-Soviet majority-Muslim “stans” Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan—while the other is a Russian citizen.
The detentions come as Russia has focused on the threat from jihadists originating from ex-Soviet Central Asia following this month’s attack on Saint Petersburg metro that killed 15 and has been blamed on a suicide bomber born in Kyrgyzstan.
They also come after IS claimed responsibility for an attack on the FSB office in the Russian far eastern city of Khabarovsk last week that killed two.
However, authorities denied any link to the jihadists and said the assailant, a 17-year-old ethnic Russian who was shot dead, had ties to neo-Nazis. AFP