U.S. Intelligence Warning to Moscow Named Specific Target of Attack

The U.S. warning to Russia ahead of a terrorist attack near Moscow was highly specific: Crocus City Hall was a potential target of the Islamic State, according to U.S. officials.

The warning had the right venue but imprecise timing, suggesting that the attack could come within days. Indeed, the public warning by the United States Embassy on March 7 warned of potential terrorist attacks in the next two days.

Gunmen stormed the hall on March 22, killing 144 people, the deadliest attack in Russia in nearly 20 years. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, and Russia charged four men from Tajikistan, accusing them of carrying out the massacre.

But President Vladimir V. Putin and other top officials have continued to claim, without evidence, that Ukraine could have played a role in the attack, a statement that American officials have repeatedly said was baseless.

The news that the U.S. warning specified the precise target of the attack was reported earlier Tuesday by The Washington Post.

The United States works intensely to collect intelligence on potential plots by the Islamic State and its Afghanistan-based branch, ISIS-Khorasan.

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