Death Toll Reaches 133 in Moscow Music Hall Attack: Suspects in Custody as Investigation Unfolds

Vehicles of Russian emergency services are parked near the burning Crocus City Hall concert venue, following a reported shooting incident, outside Moscow on Friday. Maxim Shemetov/Reuters
Vehicles of Russian emergency services are parked near the burning Crocus City Hall concert venue following a reported shooting incident, outside Moscow, Russia, March 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

The death toll climbed to at least 133 on Saturday, with several suspects in custody, as reported by Russian authorities, following an assault on a Moscow concert hall on Friday, marking the deadliest attack in the city in years.

The militant group ISIS claimed responsibility for the Friday night attack on social media. Over 140 individuals were also wounded in the onslaught, where multiple gunmen armed with rifles entered the hall before a concert, opening fire on attendees and setting the venue on fire.

The shooting occurred at Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, located west of central Moscow. According to RIA Novosti, assailants dressed in camouflage “burst into the ground floor” of the venue and “opened fire with automatic weapons.”

Videos circulated on social media, later verified by U.S. news outlets, depicted armed men moving through the concert hall, shooting at the audience. Images and footage from the scene also showed the concert hall engulfed in flames.

According to NBC News, the Russian progressive rock band Picnic was slated to perform a sold-out show at the 9,500-seat venue on Friday. Officials stated that the shooting occurred before the concert began.

The attackers fled the scene, but Russian authorities announced the detention of 11 individuals, including four suspects believed to be responsible for the shooting.

Addressing the nation on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin attempted to tie the attacks to Ukraine, which has been under Russian invasion since February 2022. Putin claimed that the alleged assailants were trying to escape to Ukraine, though no evidence was provided to support this assertion.

In contrast, Ukraine refuted any involvement in the attacks.

“This is of course another lie from the Russian special services, which has nothing in common with reality and does not stand up against any criticism,” a Ukrainian spokesperson told the Reuters news agency.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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