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Russia: Putin Suggests Attacker Tried To Escape To Ukraine, Kyiv Denies Claim; Death Toll Reaches 133

Moscow Terror Attack: The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack that left at least 133 people dead and over 140 injured after the terrorists opened fire and threw explosives at a Crocus City Hall near Moscow. US intelligence agencies had reportedly gathered information in recent weeks that the IS branch was planning an attack in Moscow.

AP
Ambulances parked near the burning Crocus City Hall near Moscow | Photo: AP
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The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack that left at least 133 people dead and over 140 injured after gunmen attacked a packed concert venue located on the outskirts of Russia's capital Moscow on Friday night, Reuters reported.

President Vladimir Putin said Saturday during an address to the nation on Saturday said the Russian authorities believe that the four major suspects were headed to Ukraine.

Kyiv, meanwhile, strongly denied any involvement in Friday's attack on the Crocus City Hall music venue in Krasnogorsk, reported AP.

The reports citing the Russia's Federal Security Service--FSB (Federal Security Service) officials said the attack took place at the Crocus City Hall. Dramatic videos showed panicked concertgoers taking cover as shots and explosions could be heard.

The attack, which left the concert hall in flames with a collapsing roof, is said to be the deadliest in Russia in years. The fire is now said to be mostly extinguished. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin called the raid a “huge tragedy.”

Russia Concert Hall Terror Attack - Top Points

  • The attackers used flammable liquid to set fire to sections of Crocus City Hall in Moscow, BBC report quoting Russian authorities said.

  • The initial reports that the causes of death of the 133 killed people were gunshot wounds and poisoning by combustion products.

  • The initial dead toll in the attack has mounted to 93 people which is likely to go up further, BBC reported.

  • Four people directly involved in the Concert City Hall attack are among the 11 detained by Russia's security agencies, BBC reported

  • Russia has reportedly also published pictures of a Kalashnikov automatic weapon, vests with multiple spare magazines and bags of spent bullet casings, apparently belonging to the attackers.

  • Earlier, out of the 145 injured in the attack, the condition of 60 people were said to be critical, Reuters reported.

  • The investigators worked through the night to gather evidence at the spot, including abandoned weapons and ammunition left by the gunmen, while Russia has said "very little" about the identity of the attackers were, BBC reported.

  • China's President Xi Jinping has sent his "condolences" to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the Crocus City Hall attack, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

  • Following the attack, the security has been tightened with events cancelled across Russia as the county's national guard searches for the attackers, BBC reported.

  • The Congress has condemned the "dastardly" terror attack in Moscow and said "we strongly stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Russia".

  • The “mourn” messages have appeared on billboards across Russia after the deadly attack, BBC reported. The billboards across Moscow are paying tributes to the victims of the terror attack. The boards showed the candle and the word "skorbim", along with the date of the attack, the report said.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condemned Moscow terrorist attack, saying India stands in solidarity with Russia in this hour of grief.

  • Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack that has left over a 100 people dead and more than that injured. Russia's Federal Security Service--FSB (Federal Security Service) has said the attack took place at the Crocus City Hall in outskirts of Moscow.

  • In a statement posted by its Aamaq news agency, the Islamic State group said it attacked a large gathering of “Christians” in Krasnogorsk on Moscow's outskirts, killing and wounding hundreds, AP reported. It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the claim. However, US intelligence officials confirmed the claim by the Islamic State group's branch based in Afghanistan that it was responsible for the Moscow attack, AP reported.

  • The reports said US intelligence agencies had gathered information in recent weeks that the IS branch was planning an attack in Moscow.

  • AP reported US officials privately shared the intelligence earlier this month with Russian officials.

  • Russian news reports said that the assailants threw explosives, triggering the massive blaze at the hall, which can accommodate over 6,200 people. Video from outside showed the building on fire, with a huge cloud of smoke rising through the night sky, The Associated Press reported.

  • The attack took place as crowds gathered for performance by Picnic, a famous Russian rock band, the reports said.

  • Russian state media agency RIA Novosti earlier reported that at least three gunmen were involved. “People in camouflage, at least three, burst into the ground floor of the Crocus City Hall and opened fire with automatic weapons.” It added that the attackers “threw a grenade or an incendiary bomb, which started a fire”.

  • Another state media agency TASS reported that emergency and security services had rescued some 100 people from the attack site.

Police block the road to the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia
Police block the road to the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia Photo: Associated Press
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  • Russia's top investigative agency is treating the incident as a terror attack and has begun probing the shooting and explosions at the Moscow concert hall.

  • The United States government said it had "no indication at this time" that Ukraine was involved in the incident. Importantly, the US had issued a warning to its citizens two weeks ago that it was "monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts”.

  • The BBC reported that Ukraine has distanced itself from the attack. Mykhailo Podolyak, an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, posted on Telegram that "let's be clear, Ukraine absolutely has nothing to do with these events".

A massive blaze is seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia
A massive blaze is seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia Photo: Associated Press
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  • Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin issued a statement and said: “Today a terrible tragedy occurred in the Crocus City center. My condolences to the loved ones of the victims. I gave orders to provide all necessary assistance to everyone who suffered during the incident.”

  • US on Moscow attack:

White House National Security Advisor John Kirby said Friday that he couldn't yet speak about all the details but that “the images are just horrible. And just hard to watch," AP reported.

“Our thoughts are going to be with the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack,” Kirby said. “There are some moms and dads and brothers and sisters and sons and daughters who haven't gotten the news yet. This is going to be a tough day.”

The attack followed a statement issued earlier this month by the US Embassy in Moscow that urged the Americans to avoid crowded places in the Russian capital in view of an imminent attack, a warning that was repeated by several other Western embassies.

  • Putin Suggests Ukraine Link in Moscow attack

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that additional security measures have been imposed throughout the country and suggested that Ukraine was linked to the attack. However, some Russian politicians pointed the finger at Ukraine shortly after the attack — accusations that Ukraine has strongly denied.

Putin said all four people directly involved in the attack had been detained and suggested they were trying to cross the border into Ukraine while escaping. He provided no evidence for that claim.

Putin ordered that Sunday will be a nationwide day of mourning. The attack was the deadliest in Russia in years and left the concert hall a smoldering ruin.

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