The Russian Security Service (FSB) announced the arrest on Saturday of the person suspected of carrying out a bombing that injured 18 people in a supermarket in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. The attack, for which the so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility on Friday, occurred just before the beginning of the holiday season in the Russian Orthodox church which celebrates Christmas on January 7.
“The organiser and executor of an improvised explosive device on December 27 in a supermarket in St. Petersburg was arrested during a special operation of the FSB on December 30 (Saturday)”, the security service said in a statement.
Eighteen people were injured in the explosion which was caused by a homemade bomb placed in a safety deposit locker of a supermarket in Russia second biggest city. Eight of the injured remain in hospital.
Russia has repeatedly been threatened by ISIL and the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda since the start of its military intervention in Syria in September 2015.
In April, St. Petersburg was targeted by an attack on its subway, which killed 16 and wounded dozens more. That attack was claimed by a little-known group linked to al-Qaida. The alleged perpetrator of the attack, Akbarjon Djalilov, a 22-year-old man from Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet Central Asian Republic, was killed in the attack.
In mid-December, security services announced that they had dismantled an ISIL cell. According to the investigators, it was preparing to commit attacks on December 16 in St. Petersburg, including on sites popular with tourists like the the Notre-Dame-de-Kazan Cathedral. President Vladimir Putin then called his American counterpart, Donald Trump, to thank him for intelligence sent by the CIA to stop the suspected attacks.