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Hunt: UK should ‘absolutely’ be concerned about threat of IS after Moscow attack

The UK should “absolutely” be concerned about the threat of so-called Islamic State (IS) after the Moscow terror attack, Jeremy Hunt has said.

The Chancellor said European countries must “remain vigilant” after 133 were killed in an assault that suggests the jihadist group has the organising capacity for major atrocities.

Speaking to broadcasters, he described the loss of civilian life as a “tragedy” but condemned the Kremlin after it appeared to seek to link Ukraine, which Russia invaded two years ago, to the attack.

“We have very little confidence in anything the Russian government says. We know that they are creating a smokescreen of propaganda to defend an utterly evil invasion of Ukraine,” he told Sky News’ Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips.

“But that doesn’t mean it’s not a tragedy when innocent people lose their lives … But I take what the Russian government says with an enormous pinch of salt.”

Asked whether other European nations, including Britain, should be concerned by the threat of IS, Mr Hunt said: “Absolutely.

“We are very lucky in this country that we have incredibly impressive intelligence agencies, who have been successful in stopping, in foiling a lot of terrorist threats over recent years.

“But we have to remain vigilant. And if it is Islamic State, they are utterly indiscriminate in what they do. They’re prepared to murder in the most horrific way.

“And so that’s why I think our hearts go out to everyone who’s affected by this, wherever they are in the world, and, yes, we have to make sure that we’re on our guard.”

Labour Party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds agreed with the Chancellor, saying: “Wherever terrorism rears its ugly head, we have to utterly condemn it and offer our condolences to all of those impacted.

“It’s really important that this is investigated properly and that those who genuinely were responsible are actually brought to book.”

At least 133 people were killed in the attack at a Moscow concert hall, which has been claimed by an affiliate of IS and is the deadliest on Russian soil in years.

Meanwhile, the country’s President Vladimir Putin appears to be trying to tie Ukraine to the atrocity, which Kyiv firmly denies.

Russian authorities arrested four suspected attackers on Saturday, Mr Putin said in an night-time address to the nation, among 11 people suspected of involvement in the attack.

Mr Putin did not mention IS in his speech to the nation and Kyiv accused him of falsely linking Ukraine to the assault to stoke fervor for Russia’s invasion, which recently entered its third year.

US intelligence officials said they had confirmed the IS affiliate’s claim.

The raid happened just days after Mr Putin cemented his grip on the country for another six years in a vote that followed the harshest crackdown on dissent since the Soviet times.