Authorities detain main planning to blow up St. Petersburg’s Kazan Cathedral

St. Petersburg native Evgeny Efimov, suspected of the illicit manufacture of explosive devices, has been detained in St. Petersburg. As reported by the United Press Service of the Courts of St. Petersburg, the detainee admitted that he was planning to blow up the iconic Kazan Cathedral, reports TASS.

Since 2017, the cathedral has functioned as the mother cathedral for the St. Petersburg Diocese. It is also home to a wonderworking Kazan Mother of God Icon.

Efimov will remain in custody at least until February 13, 2018.

The Russian FSB earlier released a video of the detention of several men suspected of preparing terrorist acts in St. Petersburg in which one of the men confessed to terrorist activities.

“I was planning to commit an act of terrorism in St. Petersburg. I was supposed to make an explosive and package it in bottles … and attach the submunitions,” Efimov stated.

The FSB special operation on December 13-14 led to the arrest of seven members of an ISIS cell and the seizure of a significant quantity of explosives, automatic weapons, ammunition, and extremist literature. They also dismantled a laboratory for the manufacture of explosive devices.

Arresting the men preparing the terrorist act is “just the tip of the iceberg” according to counter-terrorism expert Joseph Linder, RIA-Novosti reports. An investigation is ongoing to track down the organizers, customers, recruiters, trainers, and arms and material providers. “That is,” Linder stated, “the investigation is seeking to identify the entire chain in order to prevent any repeat of such acts.”

Russia Today reports that the FSB was able to track down the terrorists and thwart their plans thanks to an intelligence tip from the CIA. President Vladimir Putin called President Donald Trump to express his gratitude to him, to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and to all the operatives who gathered the relevant information.