Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) have arrested 10 people on suspicion of planning terror attacks in two major Russian cities, the FSB announced on Saturday. The FSB did not specify which countries the arrested suspects were from but did confirm that the arrests were made with the cooperation of Kyrgyzstan.

In a statement released to Russian news agencies on Saturday, the FSB said the suspects had a number of explosives, intended for use in the mass killing of civilians. They said that the suspects confessed to having links to Islamic State (Isis).

The statement, reported by TASS news agency, said: "The Russian Federal Security Service, with support from the Interior Ministry and cooperation with foreign partners from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, has stopped activities of an inter-regional terrorist group, which united citizens of Central Asian countries, who plotted a series of sabotage-terrorist attacks in Moscow and St. Petersburg, using automatic guns and self-made high-power explosives...with the purpose of killing civilians in crowded places.

"As a result of the operative-search and investigatory actions, ten terrorists were detained on November 12 in Moscow and St. Petersburg. They had four self-made high-power explosives, which were confiscated.

"The detained are confessing contacts with leaders of the Islamic State terrorist organisation, outlawed in Russia, in the Middle East region... as well as allies and the supportive base both inside the Russian Federation and abroad."

In August IS claimed responsibility for its first terror attack on Russian soil after two militants attempted to kill police officers in Balashikha, just outside Moscow. Both terrorists were killed in the attack, which left two Russian policemen injured.

The attacks followed the arrest of suspected IS supporters in Balashikha earlier in the summer. Those involved were said to have been of Chechen origin. Russia has been involved in conflict with Chechnyan rebels for many years, and has also found itself at increasing risk of terror attacks in retaliation for its air strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria. A further group of suspects was arrested in October.

Russian soldiers
Russian soldiers march during a rehearsal of the Victory Day Parade at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, in the northwest of Syria Vasily Maximo/ AFP