Russia's FSB says it foiled terror attack on church in North Caucasus

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Thursday that it had foiled what it called an attempted terrorist attack on an Orthodox Christian church in the south of the country, state news agency TASS reported.

According to TASS, the FSB said a citizen of an unnamed Central Asian country had plotted the attack in Maykop, the capital of the Adygea region in the North Caucasus.

It quoted the FSB as saying: "The terrorist was preparing to attack a religious institution (Orthodox church) in the city of Maykop and murder its clergy and guards, then set fire to the building."

Islamist violence has flared up again in recent months in the North Caucasus, which in the 1990s and 2000s was riven by wars and insurgencies emanating from Chechnya. Last month, 22 people were killed in simultaneous attacks on churches, synagogues and police checkpoints in two cities.

In March, an attack claimed by Islamic State killed 145 people at a concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow. Russia has arrested the suspected gunmen and a number of alleged accomplices, mostly citizens of Tajikistan, who are currently awaiting trial.

The FSB said the suspect was a member of a banned international terrorist organisation, which it did not name. It said investigators had seized a flag and other materials of that organisation, as well as a knife and components for an incendiary device.

(Writing by Felix Light; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)