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Russia Arrests Seven Suspected Of Plotting New Year's Attacks In Moscow

A street performer dressed as a bear is seen at a Christmas and New Year market, with the Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower seen in the background, at the Red Square in Moscow.

Russia's security agencies say they have arrested seven people suspected of preparing New Year's terror attacks in Moscow on orders from the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria.

Russia's main domestic security agency, the FSB, said on December 29 that its agents arrested the suspects in the North Caucasus region of Daghestan.

The FSB said the suspects were preparing attacks with automatic weapons and explosives in crowded places.

Islamist insurgents in Daghestan have mounted frequent attacks on police and officials, and some have sworn allegiance to IS.

Since September 2015, Russia has waged an air campaign in Syria in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, prompting IS leaders there to threaten to strike Russia's homeland.

Russian officials estimate that thousands of citizens from Russia and Central Asia have joined Islamic rebels seeking to oust the Syrian regime and its Moscow backers.

In light of the New Year's threat, authorities in Moscow plan to increase measures to protect revellers at festivities, including using trucks to block potential vehicle attacks.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP