9 detained in Tajikstan over Moscow concert hall shooting

9 detained in Tajikstan over Moscow concert hall shooting

Tajikistan's state security service has detained nine people over suspected contact with the perpetrators of last week’s attack on a suburban Moscow concert hall that killed 144 people, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said Friday.

The reported arrests came exactly a week after the massacre in the Crocus City Hall, in which gunmen shot people waiting for a show by a popular rock band and then set the building on fire.

The four suspected attackers were arrested and identified as Tajik nationals.

An affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest on Russian soil in years. The Kremlin, however, has insisted that Ukraine and the West had a role, something Kyiv has vehemently denied.

RIA Novosti said Friday, citing an unnamed source in Tajikistan’s security services, that those detained in the Central Asian country were residents of the Vakhdat district that lies east of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

The report said those detained are suspected of having connections with the Islamic State group.

In Russia, a total of nine suspects have faced court so far and were remanded in pre-trial detention.

Shifting blame

Russian officials including President Vladimir Putin have persistently claimed, without presenting evidence, that Ukraine and the West had a role in the attack.

The Investigative Committee said Thursday that it has “confirmed data that the perpetrators of the terrorist attack received significant amounts of money and cryptocurrency from Ukraine, which were used in preparing the crime.”

Mediazona reported that a 9th suspect has been charged, with investigators claiming that they were instructed to flee to Kyiv following the attack.

Ukraine denies involvement and its officials claim that Moscow is pushing the allegation as a pretext to intensify its fighting in Ukraine.

The death toll from the raid continues to rise, with the number of deaths increasing to 144 on Friday when a severely injured victim died in a hospital, according to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko.