The killing of two militants in Russia’s predominantly Islamic republic of Tatarstan helped prevent a major terrorist attack during the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Thursday.
“We have evidence suggesting that the members of the group had been preparing a large scale terrorist act on October 26 in public places during the celebration of the Muslim holiday Kurban Bairam [as the Eid al-Adha holiday is known in Russia],” the FSB said in a statement.
The two gunmen, who were killed on Wednesday, were suspects in the recent attacks on Muslim leaders in Tatarstan.
Police found three handguns, ammunition, and parts of improvised explosive devices at the scene. One of the militants was wearing a belt containing explosives.
Tatarstan has been viewed as a model of interethnic and inter-faith harmony in ethnically diverse Russia. However, July’s attacks on moderate Muslim leaders, which left Tatarstan’s mufti Ildus Faizov severely injured, and his former deputy Valiulla Yakupov dead, were a further, troubling, indication that radical Islam is spreading beyond what had been seen as its traditional borders.