July 23, 2024

Shooting at Moscow Concert Kills at Least 40 People

At least 40 people were killed and 100 injured when gunmen opened fire during a rock concert in a Moscow suburb on Friday, according to officials. The shooting also started a fire in the theater.

According to a correspondent for the news agency RIA Novosti who was present, attackers wearing camouflage uniforms entered the building, started firing, and hurled an incendiary device or grenade.

The music hall known as Crocus City, located in the northern Krasnogorsk district of the Russian capital and capable of accommodating thousands of attendees, as well as notable foreign performers, was rapidly destroyed by fire.

As to the FSB security service, which was cited by Interfax news agency and other Russian media, “preliminary information indicates that a terrorist attack in the Crocus City Hall resulted in 40 fatalities and over 100 injuries.”

President Vladimir Putin was being updated on the attack “constantly,” according to his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, who spoke to Russian news outlets. Authorities confirmed that a “terrorist” probe had been launched.

The security forces-affiliated Telegram news channels Baza and Mash displayed footage of flames and black smoke billowing from the hallway.

In other photos, there was at least one person still on the ground close to the entryway as two men moved through the hallway. Additionally, concertgoers were observed attempting to flee or hiding beneath seats.

All public events in Moscow for the weekend were canceled after Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin declared that there had been a “terrible tragedy” at the Russian rock band Piknik’s performance.

Between two and five persons “wearing tactical uniforms and carrying automatic weapons” began fire on security personnel at the entrance before beginning to shoot at the audience, according to security agencies cited by the news agency Interfax.

The journalist from RIA Novosti was cited as saying, “People who were in the hall were led on the ground to protect themselves from the shooting for 15 or 20 minutes.”

When it was safe, people began crawling out, the journalist said.

The emergency services ministry posted on its Telegram channel that some 100 people had fled through the theater basement and that others had sought refuge on the roof.


However, the TASS news agency stated that roughly one-third of the complex was on fire.


Maria Zakharova, a spokesman for Russia’s foreign ministry, described it as a “bloody terrorist attack.”


“This disgusting crime must be denounced by the entire international community,” she stated on Telegram.


The US administration described the attack as “horrible,” but it did not immediately appear to be connected to the situation in Ukraine.

Spokesman for the US National Security Council John Kirby told reporters in Washington that “there is no indication at this time that Ukraine or Ukrainians were involved in the shooting.”


If top Ukrainian authorities were connected to the incident, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev promised on Telegram that they “must be found and ruthlessly destroyed as terrorists.”


The mayor of Moscow expressed his sympathies to the relatives of the deceased while a significant security operation was initiated around the theater and adjacent retail center.


According to TASS, the OMON anti-riot squad, special police units, and SOBR had been dispatched to the Crocus hall.

It further stated that every member of the rock group had made a safe escape.


Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Orthodox church, was “praying for peace for the souls of the dead,” according to Vladimir Legoyda, his spokesperson.


Prior Cautionary Notes


Islamist organizations have previously attacked Moscow and other Russian cities, but there have also been instances where there was no obvious political motivation.

The US embassy in Russia issued a warning earlier this month stating that “extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow,” including music festivals.


In 2002, separatist Chechen terrorists captured 912 people in the Dobrovka theater in Moscow and demanded that Russian forces leave the area.


Thirty-one persons were slain when special forces stormed the theater to break up the hostage-taking. Almost all of them were suffocated by gas that the security personnel had used to take out the shooters.

Russia began its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, and since then, anti-Kremlin forces have attacked the country along its border.


The commanders of the Freedom of Russia Legion, who are members of the Ukrainian armed forces, as well as the Ukrainian presidency denied any involvement in the music hall assault.


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