Moscow attack live updates: Putin says four gunmen arrested as death toll hits 133

By Isaac M March 23, 2024
Police respond to reports of mass shooting at Moscow concert hall

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s claim on Saturday that the four men who attacked a concert near Moscow were heading towards Ukraine when they were detained, has been criticised as “absurd”.

Putin, addressing the nation following the attack that has left at least 133 people dead, he vowed that anyone who ordered the assault will be “justly and inevitably punished.”

Referring to the men now detained by Russian security forces, he said: “They tried to hide and moved towards Ukraine, where, according to preliminary data, a window was prepared for them from the Ukrainian side to cross the state border.”

Mykhaylo Podolyak, an aide to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky earlier denied Russian security service suggestions that Ukraine was involved in the attack, calling the claims “absurd”.

Russia‘s state Investigative Committee said 133 people had been killed, including children.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest in Russia since the Beslan school siege in 2004 when terrorists killed 334 people.

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Zelensky says Putin’s claim about Ukraine’s involvement is ‘predictable’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was seeking ways to divert blame for a massacre at a concert hall near Moscow on Friday.

He said it was “absolutely predictable” that Putin had remained silent for 24 hours before tying the shooting rampage to Ukraine and that the hundreds of thousands of “terrorists” Putin had sent to fight and be killed in the war in Ukraine would “definitely be enough” to stop terrorists at home.

Holly Evans23 March 2024 20:45

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White House press secretary condemns ‘heinous’ terror attack

In a statement, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: “The United States strongly condemns the heinous terrorist attack in Moscow.

“We extend our deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones and to those who were injured or affected by these unconscionable attacks against innocent civilians.

“ISIS is a common terrorist enemy that must be defeated everywhere.”

Holly Evans23 March 2024 20:13

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Russian emergency services wade through rubble at site of Moscow attack that killed 133

Aftermath from the Moscow massacre that left at least 133 people dead has seen emergency services wading through rubble to make what remains of the building as safe as possible.

11 people have been detained after ISIS claim responsibility for the attack, which took place at Crocus City Hall on Friday (22 March).

At least four men began shooting at patrons as they waited for a rock band to start, before allegedly letting off petrol bombs, causing the building to go up in smoke.

Russian emergency crew wade through rubble at site of Moscow attack that killed 143

Aftermath from the Moscow massacre that left at least 143 people dead has seen emergency services wading through rubble to make what remains of the building as safe as possible. 11 people have been detained after ISIS claim responsibility for the attack, which took place at Crocus City Hall on Friday (22 March). At least four men began shooting at patrons as they waited for a rock band to start, before allegedly letting off petrol bombs, causing the building to go up in smoke.

Tara Cobham23 March 2024 20:00

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Security expert says ISIS responsibility claim is ‘completely conceivable’

A claim of responsibility by Islamic State for a massacre of Russian concertgoers near Moscow appears to be plausible and fits with a pattern of previous marauding attacks by Islamist militants, security analysts said on Saturday.

One leading expert said, however, it was unusual and striking that the assailants had formed and executed an escape plan instead of pursuing their rampage to the point of being gunned down.

Adam Dolnik, a Czech security expert who has studied past Islamist attacks in India, Kenya, Russia and elsewhere, said the Islamic State claim appeared credible, although “that will not stop the Russians from leveraging this for their foreign policy agenda vis-a-vis Ukraine and the West”.

Emergency workers shifting through the rubble in the aftermath of the terror attack

(Russian Emergency Ministry Press Service)

Dolnik said that attacks by marauding gunmen were a typical modus operandi in recent years for IS and al Qaeda.

He noted Islamic State has a record of previous attacks against Russia, including the bombing of a 2015 flight from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg and a 2022 attack on the Russian embassy in Kabul. Earlier this month, Russia’s FSB said it foiled an attack on a Moscow synagogue by ISIS-K, an affiliate of the group.

“If you line up all these things together, then I think it’s completely conceivable that this would be an IS attack,” he said.

Holly Evans23 March 2024 19:23

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Moscow terror attack: How deadly shooting, fire and car chase unfolded

As the clamour and noise grew louder for the artists to take to the stage at Crocus City Hall, a sprawling shopping mall and music venue, a devastating act of violence was carried out that left more than 130 people dead and dozens more injured. It is the deadliest attack in Russia since the 2004 Beslan school siege, when terrorists killed 334 people.

At around 7.40pm a white Renault car pulled up outside the 6,200-capacity concert hall. Men dressed in military fatigues exited the vehicle, burst into the foyer and started shooting. Harrowing videos posted on Russian social media showed the attackers calmly walking through the venue and shooting concert-goers at point-blank range as they attempted to flee or tried to find a place to hide.

Tara Cobham23 March 2024 19:00

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken says US stands with people of Russia

In response to the terror attack in Moscow, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on social media that the US stands in “solidarity” with the people of Russia.

He said: “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.”

Holly Evans23 March 2024 18:40

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Deadly attack on Moscow concert hall shakes Russian capital and sows doubts about security

Shocked Russians brought flowers and teddy bears Saturday to the Crocus City concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow to pay their respects to more than 100 people who died in a grisly attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Mourners hung flowers on fences and piled them on the ground a short distance from the concert hall where gunmen opened fire on a crowd and set off explosives that started a huge fire.

Amid the grief, firefighters pulled bodies from the rubble and worked to put out the flames.Videos shared on social media showed candles and flowers being laid in memory of the dead and wounded at monuments across Russia and at Russian embassies abroad.

Mourners laying flowers and candles outside the concert hall

(Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Holly Evans23 March 2024 18:15

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US-backed Syrian force that defeated IS 5 years ago warns group still poses international threat

The US-backed force that defeated the Islamic State group in Syria five years ago warned Saturday that the extremists still pose grave dangers throughout the world and called on the international community to find solutions for thousands of fighters still held in its jails.

The statement by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to mark the fifth anniversary since IS lost the last sliver of its self-declared caliphate came hours after the group claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack in Moscow that left 133 people dead.

On March 23, 2019, SDF fighters captured the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz marking the end of the extremist group’s caliphate that was carved out of large parts of Syria and Iraq. During its rule, IS brutalized millions of people and attracted thousands of men and women from around the world to join it ranks.

Tara Cobham23 March 2024 18:00

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Watch: Crowd flee as Moscow attackers enter concert hall lobby

Crowd flee as Moscow attackers enter concert hall lobby

Tara Cobham23 March 2024 17:12

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The attack in Moscow shows the threat from Isis is as high as ever

Strong indications that Islamist extremists were planning to carry out an attack – “a spectacular” one in terms of its lethal ambition – had been around for a while. And there was a certain grim inevitability to the massacre of more than 140 people, which took place yesterday in Moscow.

Despite relations between Nato and Russia reaching the lowest point since the coldest of times during the Cold War, channels of communication on matters of terrorism have remained active between the Kremlin and a number of Western states.

It is believed that the US, and then the UK, were receiving information at the start of the year that Isis was planning an attack in Russia in the near future, and warnings were passed on to Moscow by the Americans.

World affairs editor Kim Sengupta reports:

Tara Cobham23 March 2024 17:10

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