Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Russia Reports 145 Injured and 60 Dead in a Concert Hall Attack; the Islamic State Group Claims Responsibility

More than 60 people have been murdered and over 100 injured, according to Russian officials, by attackers who stormed into a music hall and opened fire on the audience.

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Only a few days after President Vladimir Putin solidified his hold on power with a carefully scripted electoral landslide, attackers stormed into a sizable concert hall in Moscow on Friday, dousing the crowd with gunfire and leaving over 60 dead and over 100 injured. The attackers also set the venue on fire.

The Islamic State group released a message on social media sites that they controlled, claiming responsibility for the attack. According to a U.S. intelligence official, the intelligence services had notified Russian officials that they had discovered the group’s branch in Afghanistan was organizing an attack in Moscow.

What happened to the attackers following the raid, which state authorities were looking into as possible terrorism, was not immediately apparent.

The incident, which resulted in a collapsed roof and a burning music hall, was the bloodiest to strike Russia in recent memory and occurred as the nation’s conflict with Ukraine entered its third year. Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, described the raid as a “huge tragedy.”

Putin was notified, according to the Kremlin, minutes after the attackers broke into Crocus City Hall, a sizable concert hall on the western fringe of Moscow that can hold 6,200 people.

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The incident happened while large audiences were anticipating a concert by the Russian rock group Picnic. More than sixty individuals were killed, according to a report released early on Saturday by the state’s main criminal inquiry body, the Investigative Committee. A list of 145 injuries was made public by health officials; 115 of them, including five children, were hospitalized.

According to some Russian news reports, the fire that broke out when the attackers tossed explosives may have trapped more people.

In the night sky, a massive cloud of smoke could be seen rising from the burning structure in the video. Dozens of firetrucks, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles were illuminating the roadway with their blinking blue lights, while fire helicopters hovered overhead, dropping water on the fire that took hours to put out.

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According to the prosecutor’s office, multiple males dressed in war fatigues stormed into the performance hall and opened fire on attendees.

Men brandishing assault guns and killing screaming civilians at close range were shown in videos that Russian media and messaging app channels had uploaded. In one video, gunfire could be heard nonstop while a man inside the auditorium said the attackers had lit it on fire.

According to Russian media, several of the performance hall’s security personnel may have been slain at the outset of the attack because they lacked firearms. According to several Russian news sources, the attackers left before riot police and special forces could reach. According to reports, police patrols searched for a number of vehicles that the attackers would have used to get away.

The Islamic State group claimed to have killed and wounded hundreds of “Christians” when it struck a sizable gathering in Krasnogorsk, on the outskirts of Moscow, according to a statement released by its Aamaq news agency. It was not able to confirm the claim’s veracity right away.

All 224 passengers on board—the majority of them Russian vacationers returning from Egypt—were killed when an IS-plantted bomb brought down a Russian passenger aircraft over Sinai in October 2015. The group has claimed multiple strikes in Russia’s dangerous Caucasus and other regions in recent years. It mostly works in Syria and Iraq, but it also has operations in Afghanistan and Africa. Fighters from Russia and other former Soviet states were recruited by it.

 

On March 7, the chief security agency of Russia announced that it had stopped an Islamic State cell from attacking a synagogue in Moscow, resulting in the deaths of several of the group’s members in the Kaluga area close to the Russian capital. A few days prior, the Russian government said that a gunfight in the Russian Caucasus republic of Ingushetia had claimed the lives of six purported IS members.

Global outcry, astonishment, and solidarity with the victims of the concert call incident were evident in the words that came in on Friday.

On Russian social media, some observers questioned how the authorities, who constantly monitor and intimidate opponents of the Kremlin, were unable to recognize the threat and stop the attack.

 

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Security has reportedly been reinforced at Moscow’s airports, train stations, and extensive metro network, according to Russian officials. The mayor of Moscow called off all large-scale events, and museums and theaters closed for the weekend. Security was also increased in other parts of Russia.

While the Kremlin refrained from assigning instant blame for the incident, a number of Russian politicians promptly accused Ukraine and demanded a stepped-up offensive. The largest hydroelectric plant in the nation as well as other energy facilities were severely damaged by the Russian military’s massive bombardment on Ukraine’s power grid hours before the attack, leaving more than a million people without access to electricity.

Following a massive crackdown on opposition, Putin extended his hold on power for a further six years this week in the presidential election. He condemned the Western warnings as an attempt to scare Russians. He claimed earlier this week that “everything that looks like open blackmail and an attempt to frighten and destabilize our society.”

When the country was fighting separatists in the Chechnyan territory in the early 2000s, the country was rocked by a string of fatal terror strikes.

About eight hundred people were held captive by Chechen extremists in a Moscow theater in October 2002. After the facility was stormed by Russian special forces two days later, 129 hostages and 41 Chechen fighters lost their lives, the majority as a result of the narcotic gas that Russian forces had used to neutralize the militants.

About thirty Chechen extremists took over a school in Beslan, southern part of  the country, in September 2004, and they took hundreds of people hostage. Two days later, the siege came to an end in a slaughter that claimed the lives of over 330 individuals, nearly half of whom being children.