President Vladimir Putin has thanked Donald Trump for his help in foiling a terrorist attack in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, due to take place on Saturday.
Russian security services were able to prevent the terror attack, thanks to information provided by the CIA. Seven members of an Islamic State cell, who planned the December 16 attack, have now been detained. A statement released by Russia’s FSB security service says that a suicide bomber planned to detonate a device in St. Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral, as well as other locations across the city.
In the operation, a “significant” amount of explosives, components of improvised explosive devices, weapons, ammunition, and extremist literature was seized, the report goes on to say. A laboratory thought to be manufacturing explosive devices was also eliminated. The statement concludes by saying that the necessary investigative and operational measures are being carried out.
During the telephone conversation, Putin requested Trump pass on his gratitude to the CIA for the information provided. In return, he reaffirmed that any information of potential terrorist threats against the US would be handed over to intelligence agencies.
This was not the first telephone call between Trump and Putin in recent days. Only last Thursday, according to the White House, Trump thanked Putin for the comments he made acknowledging America’s strong economic performance.
Further details will be available soon, as confirmed in a statement released by the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) December 17, 2017
The St. Petersburg terrorist attack was discussed by plotters using the messenger app Telegram. Telegram which is described as “a new era of messaging” on their website, is a cloud-based encrypted service.
This is not the first time the Telegram app has been linked to terrorist use. In May, following the Manchester Arena bombings, the Huffington Post produced an article highlighting how it was now the “app of choice” for terrorist organisations such as ISIS. The article points to a void created when the more popular services such as Facebook and Twitter increased efforts to tackle the problem.
Earlier this year, the Russian city of St. Petersburg suffered a terror attack. In April, 13 people died when explosives were detonated on the St. Petersburg metro system. A second device was also found on the metro, but was not detonated.