Reuters: Iran warned Russia of major ʼterrorist attackʼ before attack on Crocus City Hall

Olha Bereziuk

Iran warned Russia about the possibility of a major "terrorist operation" on its territory even before the attack on the Crocus City Hall concert hall in Krasnohorsk, Moscow region.

This was reported to Reuters by three sources.

"A few days before the attack in Russia, Tehran shared with Moscow information about a possible major terrorist attack inside Russia, obtained during interrogations of those arrested in connection with the deadly explosions in Iran," one of the sources said.

We are talking about an explosion in the Iranian city of Kerman during a ceremony to honor the memory of the fallen General Qasem Suleimani, as a result of which about 100 people died. Iranʼs Intelligence Ministry announced in January that it had arrested 35 people involved in the bombings, including the commander of the Islamic State-Khorasan terrorist group, the Afghan branch of the Islamic State.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Iran bombings, and U.S. intelligence sources have said that the Islamic State of Khorasan carried out both the January 3 attacks in Iran and the March 22 Crocus City Hall shooting.

A second journalist source said that the information that Tehran provided to Moscow about the upcoming attack did not include specific details about the timing and the exact target.

"They (members of the Islamic State of Khorasan) were instructed to prepare for a major operation in Russia... One of the terrorists (arrested in Iran) said that some members of the group had already gone to Russia," a Reuters source said.

A third source, an unnamed senior security official, said that "because Iran has been the target of terrorist attacks for years, Iranian authorities fulfilled their obligation to alert Moscow based on information obtained from arrested terrorists."

A source familiar with US intelligence on the upcoming attack in Russia said it was based on intercepted "conversations" between Islamic State-Khorasan fighters.

What is known about the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall

On the evening of March 22, 2024, a shooting occurred in the Crocus City Hall concert hall in Krasnogorsk near Moscow before the start of the performance of the band "Piknik". Four men entered the mall and started shooting everyone in their path. Terrorists started a fire in the concert hall, setting fire to the seats. After that, they fled in a car.

On March 23, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack and called it "the most brutal attack in recent years." The next day, a video of the killing of Russians in the Crocus City Hall mall, shot by terrorists, appeared on social networks. The footage confirms that the terrorist attack was carried out by militants of the Islamic State. One of the terrorists shouts "Kill them all" and "The infidels will be defeated" in Arabic during the attack. He also glorifies Allah. All four fired indiscriminately at people, and one of them cut the throat of the wounded.

On the same day, a court in Moscow arrested four suspects in the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall — Muhammadsobir Faizov, Shamsidin Fariduni, Saidakrami Rachabalizoda and Dalerjon Mirzoev. Three of the four appeared in court with traces of torture. Rachabalizodʼs ear was cut off by law enforcement officers while being detained on video, and Faridun was tortured with electric shock on camera.

According to the latest data, 143 people died as a result of the terrorist attack.