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Putin promises retaliation for the attack on the concert hall, with 133 people killed.

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Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, said that Russia had detained four gunmen who were attempting to flee to Ukraine on Saturday and vowed to punish those responsible for the “barbaric terrorist attack” that killed over 130 people in a Moscow concert hall.

In his initial public statements on the incident, Putin did not mention the Islamic State group’s (IS) claims of culpability; Kyiv has vehemently denied any involvement.

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In the northern Krasnogorsk suburb of Moscow, disguised gunmen entered the Crocus City Hall on Friday night and set it on fire, killing at least 133 people.

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As part of “the raging war” with “countries fighting Islam,” the jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the incident, stating on a Telegram channel on Saturday that it was “carried out by four IS fighters armed with machine guns, a pistol, knives, and firebombs.”

It is the deadliest attack that IS has claimed to have happened in Europe and the deadliest that has occurred in Russia in nearly 20 years.

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Officials in Russia anticipate that the death toll will continue to grow, as over 100 people remain hospitalized.

 

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In a nationally televised speech on Saturday, Putin declared, “Terrorists, murderers, non-humans… have only one unenviable fate: retribution and oblivion.”

 

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“Savage”

“All four direct perpetrators… all those who shot and killed people, have been found and detained,” he declared, branding the attack a “barbaric, terrorist act.”

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He said, “They attempted to flee and were heading into Ukraine, where, based on preliminary information, a window was prepared for them to cross the state border on the Ukrainian side.”

 

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Putin called the act a “atrocity, a strike against Russia and our people” and likened the perpetrators to “Nazis.”

 

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Sunday was declared a national mourning day by him.

 

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According to the FSB security service, 11 persons were detained in Russia on Saturday in relation to the incident.

Putin declared, “Justly and inevitably, all the perpetrators, organizers, and those who ordered this crime will be punished.”

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Prior to this, the FSB stated that the attackers had “contacts” in Ukraine, but it did not elaborate.

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According to a statement from presidential assistant Mykhailo Podolyak, Kyiv, which has been under Russian military onslaught for the previous two years, had “nothing to do” with the incident.

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“I hope that this terrible tragedy will not become a pretext for anyone to escalate violence and aggression,” stated Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Saturday.

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The Russian Investigative Committee, which looks into significant crimes, reported on Saturday that rescuers were still removing bodies from the burning structure.

 

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In a Telegram announcement, it stated, “While clearing the debris, the emergency services have found more bodies.”

 

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“The terrorist act has claimed the lives of 133 persons. The search is still ongoing.

 

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The Moscow region’s governor declared that rescuers will be at the scene for “several days.”

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova stated that 107 patients, many of whom were in severe condition, were remained in the hospital.

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IS initially took credit for the attack on Friday night, and it did so again on Saturday.

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Social media footage shows that some witnesses recorded the shooters as they entered the stalls and started killing people from higher floors.

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The Investigative Committee then stated that “the terrorists used a flammable liquid to set fire to the concert hall’s premises, where spectators were located, including wounded.”

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Investigators reported that after a fire consumed the 6,000-seat stadium, victims perished from smoke inhalation as well as gunshot wounds.

 

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On Friday, the arena immediately caught fire, sending terrified concertgoers running for the exits.

 

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Additionally, investigators announced that one of the attackers will receive a prize for leaping on him while he was shooting concertgoers, “immobilizing” him and “saving the lives of people around him.”

More than eighteen hours after the attack began, on Saturday, Putin made his first public statements. He did not mention IS’s claim of responsibility.

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Two films purporting to be interviews with two handcuffed suspects were released by Margarita Simonyan, the head of the state-run media station RT. The suspects both acknowledged the attack, but they did not identify the perpetrator.

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All four of the alleged gunmen were foreign nationals, according to the interior ministry, since Tajikistan, which borders Afghanistan and is home to the jihadist group, was mentioned on Russian Telegram channels, including those with connections to the security services.

 

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According to Tajikistan’s foreign ministry, Moscow and the country’s authorities were “in close contact” regarding the “possible participation of the country’s citizens in the terrorist attack.”

In Moscow, mourners gathered to lay flowers outside the music hall, while locals queued in lengthy lines in the rain to donate blood for those in hospitals.

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Some of the capital’s commercial billboards were replaced with memorial posters that featured a single candle.

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Significant events were canceled all throughout the nation, including Monday’s friendly football match between Paraguay and Russia in Moscow.

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Leaders from over the world kept releasing statements denouncing.

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US dismisses warning

 

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Following the incident, attention was also focused on Russia’s formidable intelligence services.

 

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Three days prior, Putin had openly rejected a US alert about a “imminent” strike in Moscow, calling it fear mongering meant to frighten Russians.

 

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“Extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts,” the US embassy in Russia had issued a warning on March 7.

Following the incident, Washington claimed to have immediately communicated information with Moscow.

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However, Putin described it as “provocative” and “outright blackmail… to intimidate and destabilize our society” when he spoke to FSB leaders last Tuesday.

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