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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police on Alert as Reports of Terrorist Plots Surface

Moscow police went on alert and were put on extended duty over the weekend amid reports that Chechen-linked terrorists were planning attacks.

Officers were checking vehicles entering the capital, scouring parking lots and searching fruit and vegetable warehouses after reports that a truck had delivered 200 kilograms of TNT to Moscow hidden in produce crates, Itar-Tass reported, citing acting Moscow police chief Viktor Shvidkin.

Police also had information that Chechen rebels using intermediaries were sending explosives to Moscow hidden in baby-food containers and digital watches. The Moscow police press service would not comment on the report, though stepped-up security was noticeable at some metro stations.

Moscow police were put on alert briefly last month after receiving threats of Chechen terrorist attacks. The government has blamed Chechens for last summer's bomb attacks on apartment houses in Moscow, Buinaksk and Volgodonsk that killed about 300 people. Several people have been arrested and more are being sought, security officials said. The Chechens have denied responsibility.

The explosions were one of the reasons for the September invasion of Chechnya, and in Moscow led to a wide-ranging security crackdown and checks of residence registration.

In the restive Stavropol region, adjacent to Chechnya, valves on gas pipes in three apartment buildings were deliberately loosened in hopes of causing an explosion, Itar-Tass reported over the weekend.

Residents of the three high-rise buildings in the town of Neftekumsk were alarmed by strong natural-gas fumes and called the gas company for help, a spokesman for the town administrator was quoted as saying.

Repairmen found the open valves in all three buildings, the report said. It said the repairmen's quick action averted three potential blasts.