Canada echoes U.S. warning of ‘imminent terrorism risk’ in Moscow – National


The Canadian government is echoing a warning from the U.S. embassy in Russia of an “imminent terrorism risk” in Moscow.

The U.S. embassy said on Thursday it is monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, including concerts, and that American citizens should avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours.

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) updated its Russia travel advisory page to recast the statement, and is advising Canadians in Moscow also to avoid large gatherings, to be aware of their surroundings when in public places, and to monitor local media for the latest news. The United Kingdom is also advising on its website about the warning.

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In a statement to Global News on Friday, GAC said it will always ensure the safety and security of its personnel and operations abroad.

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“We continue to monitor the safety and security of our personnel closely and continue to provide the necessary support to all embassy personnel as the situation evolves,” it said.

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“Global Affairs Canada works with its missions in the development of prudent contingency planning for any type of emergency, and continuously monitors the security situation at its missions abroad.”

Canadians have already been advised to avoid all travel to Russia given its now two-year-old full-scale conflict with Ukraine, the fallout of which could include partial military mobilization, restrictions on financial transactions and increasingly limited flight options, GAC said.

“If you are in Russia, you should leave while commercial means are still available,” it said.

“If you remain in Russia, maintain a low profile. Canadians holding Russian citizenship may be subject to call-up for mandatory military service.”

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The U.S. embassy’s warning came hours after Russian security services said it foiled a planned shooting at a synagogue by a cell from the Afghan arm of Islamic State.

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It’s unclear if the two statements are linked.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said an Islamic State cell was operating in Russia’s Kaluga region as part of the Afghan arm of the group, which is known as ISIS-Khorasan, and seeks a caliphate across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran.

The group first appeared in eastern Afghanistan in late 2014, and established a reputation for extreme brutality.

The cell “was preparing to attack the congregants of a synagogue using firearms,” the FSB said.

It added Russian special forces “neutralized” the suspects in an exchange of gunfire.

“Firearms, ammunition, as well as components for the manufacture of an improvised explosive device were found and seized,” the FSB said.

— with files from Reuters

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