More than 130 dead after Moscow concert attack: What we know

More than 130 dead after Moscow concert attack: What we know

More than 130 people were killed Friday in an attack at a concert hall near Moscow, according to officials.

Russian authorities have detained 11 people related to the incident, including four who were directly involved in the deadliest act of terrorism in Russia’s capital city for over a decade.

A branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombings Friday. U.S. officials have pinned the attack on ISIS-K, a branch active in Afghanistan.

Here is what we know so far:

Gunmen storm Moscow concert hall

Gunmen armed with firearms and explosives stormed the Crocus City complex right before concert hall, with capacity of 6,000 seats, was set to host an event. At least four of the suspects were shooting at attendees indiscriminately.

At least three of gunmen were also wearing camouflage, according to the video footage from the scene.

The building was filled with smoke, eventually leading to civilians dying from poisoning. Part of the building’s roof also collapsed due to the spread of the fire.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene and were able to contain the fire early Saturday morning.

From the attack and ensuing fire, seats at the Crocus City Hall music venue were burned. The building also sustained structural damage.

Russia’s emergency service released pictures and video showing firefighters working through the debris.

Death toll

Russian authorities updated the death count Saturday, now saying more than 133 people were found dead.

At least 140 were also injured in the Friday attack.

Officials said the number will likely keep rising as emergency responders continue to work through the scene.

Most of the victims identified thus far have been in their 40s, The New York Times reported. Many had traveled to Moscow to see Russian rock band Piknik, who was slated to perform Friday evening.

Islamic State claims responsibility

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a post shared Friday on social media.

Islamic State-Khorasan, also known as ISIS-K, is a branch of the group based in Afghanistan. They have been planning an attack on Moscow, according to the Times, citing one U.S. official. U.S. authorities privately told Russian officials about the possibility of an attack in the country, the outlet reported.

ISIS also claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 84 people in Kerman, Iran, in January.

Russian authorities said Saturday that at least four of the suspected gunmen were foreign nationals.

Debate over Ukraine involvement

Speculation in Russia arose about Ukraine’s potential involvement in the attack as war continues to rage between the two countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin added to some of the rhetoric in his first public address after the incident.

“They were trying to hide and were moving toward Ukraine,” Putin said Saturday, according to The Times. He was referencing the four gunmen who were captured, per the Kremlin.

“Based on preliminary information, a window for crossing the border was prepared for them by the Ukrainian side.”

Ukraine’s officials have denied any involvement.

Mykhailo Podolyak, An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said his country had nothing to do with the attack and that terrorist assaults do not solve problems.

“Ukraine certainly has nothing to do with the shooting/explosions in the Crocus City Hall (Moscow Region, Russia),” Podolyak said in a Friday post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “It makes no sense whatsoever.”

“First of all, Ukraine has been fighting with the Russian army for more than two years. And everything in this war will be decided only on the battlefield,” he continued. “Only by the quantity of weapons and qualitative military decisions. Terrorist attacks do not solve any problems…”

White House national security adviser John Kirby also denied the speculation of Ukraine’s involvement in the attack.

“The images are just horrible. Just hard to watch, and our thoughts obviously are going to be with the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack,” Kirby said Friday. “No indication at this time that Ukraine or Ukrainians were involved in the shooting.”

Response to the attack

Putin attempted to connect the attackers to Ukraine, and said the gunmen would be penalized.

During his Saturday address, he did not address the Islamic group claiming responsibility for the attack or U.S. officials stating the same.

Putin accused Ukraine of preparing the border so that attackers could cross there as they were detained in the Bryansk region, according to Russian authorities. The region borders Ukraine.

“All perpetrators, organizers and commissioners of this crime will receive a just and inevitable punishment,” Putin said in his speech. “No matter who they are, no matter who directed them, I repeat, we will identify and punish everyone who stood behind the terrorists.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the attack Saturday in a post to X, calling it a “horrific event.”

“The United States strongly condemns the March 22 terrorist attack in Moscow.  We stand in solidarity with the people of Russia in grieving the loss of life after this horrific event,” Blinken said.

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