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Attack at a Moscow concert: what we know

  • March 23, 2024
  • 8
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attack-at-a-moscow-concert:-what-we-know

A shooting followed by a huge fire in a concert hall in the suburbs of Moscow left at least 115 dead on Friday evening.

Here is what we know about this attack claimed by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS):

Shooting and fire

The assault, which Russian media began reporting around 8:15 p.m. in Moscow (5:15 p.m. GMT), was carried out by several armed individuals at Crocus City Hall, a concert hall located in Krasnogorsk, at the northwest exit of the Russian capital.

The perpetrators allegedly used “automatic weapons” and set fire to the building using a “flammable liquid”, the Investigative Committee said on Saturday.

The emergency services, cited by the Interfax agency, indicated that the attackers had “opened fire on security agents at the entrance to the concert hall”, before “starting shooting at the public”.

According to a journalist from the state news agency Ria Novosti, individuals in camouflage clothing burst into the concert hall before opening fire and throwing “a grenade or an incendiary bomb, which caused a fire.

“The people in the room lay down on the ground to protect themselves from the gunfire for 15 to 20 minutes, after which they started crawling out,” he said.

An AFP journalist who arrived at the scene a few hours after the attack saw black smoke and flames escaping from the roof of the concert hall which can accommodate up to 6,000 people. According to media reports, part of the roof collapsed. The fire was then brought under control.

That budget?

The death toll rose to 115 on Saturday morning, announced the Russian Investigative Committee, which specified that “search operations continue” in the rubble.

According to the Ministry of Emergency Situations, around 100 people remained hospitalized on Saturday.

According to the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, firefighters managed to evacuate around a hundred people who were in the basement of the concert hall where the Russian rock group Piknik was performing, whose members were also able to be evacuated, reported the TASS agency.

Operations also made it possible to “save people on the roof of the building using lifting equipment”.

The Islamic State group claims

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released Friday evening.

Attack at a concert in Moscow: what we know

Image taken from a video, showing unidentified armed men crossing the doors of the Crocus room in Krasnogorsk, near Moscow, March 22, 2024 / -UGC / UGC/AFP

IS fighters “attacked a large gathering (…) in the vicinity of the Russian capital Moscow,” IS said on one of its Telegram accounts. The jihadist group claimed that its commando then “returned to its base safely”.

The Kremlin announced on Saturday the arrest of 11 people, including the “four” attackers, while an investigation into a “terrorist act” was opened. They were arrested in the Bryansk region, bordering Ukraine and Belarus, the Investigative Committee said.

According to Russian media and MP Alexander Khinstein, some of the suspects are from Tajikistan.

The Russian security services (FSB) claimed that the suspects had “contacts” in Ukraine and planned to flee there.

Ukraine and a unit of pro-Ukraine fighters behind recent armed border incursions into Russian territory have denied responsibility for the attack.

Ukrainian military intelligence accused the Kremlin and its special services of having orchestrated the attack to blame Ukraine and justify an “escalation” of the war.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev assured that Moscow would kill Ukrainian leaders if it turned out that they were involved in this attack.

Warnings

The US Embassy in Russia warned its citizens two weeks ago that “extremists (have) imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, including concerts.”

The White House said the United States had shared this information with Russian authorities.

“If the United States has or had reliable data on this subject, it must immediately transmit it to the Russian side,” reacted Russian diplomatic spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Friday, referring to a “bloody terrorist attack” and a “monstrous crime”.

The Russian authorities, for their part, announced on March 3 that they had killed six suspected fighters from the Islamic State group in an operation carried out in Ingushetia (south), a small republic in the Caucasus with a Muslim majority.

Previous

In the past, Russia has been the target of numerous attacks committed by Islamist groups but also of shootings without political motives or attributed to unbalanced people.

In 2002, Chechen fighters took 912 people hostage in the Moscow theater of Dubrovka to demand the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya.

The hostage-taking ended with an assault by special forces, and the death of 130 people, almost all of them asphyxiated by the police.