The Russian Federal Security Bureau, known as the FSB, released a statement on the arrests. Describing the men as an ISIS cell consisting of two Russian nationals and three citizens of Central Asian countries, the statement added that they “planned to carry out subversive and terrorist acts.”
“An arms cache was found, which contained a Kalashnikov rifle, a Makarov pistol, ammunition and an improvised explosive device,” the statement added. In addition to the weapons, the FSB also announced that communication devices with instructions from ISIS were also found on the men.
According to the Daily Mail, the suspected target of their attack was a popular shopping mall in the Russian capital, known as the Evropeisky Shopping Mall. The destination is one of the largest in the city and is a mammoth 180,000 square meters spread over eight floors. The mall contains popular stores such as Levi’s, Adidas, and Topshop which would no doubt be particularly crowded during the holiday season. It also contains a movie theater and ice skating rink.
The suspects were captured on the premises of the mall after a joint FSB and police operation.
У ТРЦ "Европейский" много пожарных машин, сообщает @grishinanatali pic.twitter.com/b5s6qBt5B0— Москва 24 (@infomoscow24) September 9, 2013
Though the Evropeisky Shopping Mall is assumed to be their main target, the men had also looked into bombing targets such as schools and police stations in the new year.
The leader of the group was later named as Idris Alibekov, who is just 23-years-old. Though he was working as a security guard in a Moscow coffee shop, he grew up in the Russian region of Dagestan, which the BBC once claimed was the most dangerous place in Europe. The area, which is sandwiched between Georgia, Chechnya, and the Caspian Sea, boasts a majority Muslim population, and at least 5,000 known citizens have fled to fight for ISIS.
The surnames of the other four suspects were given as Shakhmedov, Azizov, Bakhodurov, and Mamurov.
The FSB is conducting further searches, and the suspects are to remain in custody for at least two months.
Russia is not the only country that has recently dealt with a terror threat from the Islamic State. This past September, an American Airlines mechanic was accused of trying to sabotage a plane by taking advantage of the Boeing 737 Max 8 software problem that had already caused two plane crashes. The man was found with disturbing ISIS propaganda on his phone, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.