Advertisement

At Least 115 Killed in ‘Bloody Terrorist Attack’ at Moscow Concert Hall

Reuters
Reuters

Russia’s Federal Security Service said that at least 115 people were killed after gunmen opened fire inside a packed concert hall in the Moscow region, sending concert-goers fleeing for their lives in chilling videos captured at the scene.

The tragedy is being probed as a “bloody terrorist attack,” Russian’s Foreign Ministry said Friday. Although the terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the mass shooting in the hours after the attack, it has not been confirmed what organized group, if any, was involved.

“The entire world community is obliged to condemn this monstrous crime,” said the Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “All efforts are being thrown at saving people.”

Heavy gunfire could be heard in the background of videos shared on Telegram from Crocus City Hall, a venue that seats 6,000 people. State news agencies reported that as many as 70 ambulance crews were dispatched to the scene.

The Emergency Ministry for the Moscow Region directed two helicopters to extinguish the fire and 320 firefighters, according to TASS.

“A terrible tragedy occurred in the shopping center Crocus City today,” said Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin in a news conference. “I am sorry for the loved ones of the victims.”

Sobyanin said the attackers used automatic weapons but did not give an estimate on fatalities.

“People in camouflage, at least three, burst into the ground floor of the Crocus City Hall and opened fire from automatic weapons. There are definitely wounded,” state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a reporter at the scene.

“After that they threw a grenade or an incendiary bomb, which started a fire,” the agency added. “The people in the hall lay down on the floor to escape the shooting, and stayed there for 15-20 minutes, after which they began to crawl out. Many managed to get out.”

Citing eyewitnesses, the Russian news agency TASS reported that an explosion went off at the concert hall before the shooting and that a massive fire broke out. Video of that fire was shared online, appearing to show the roof of the building engulfed in flames.

Other unverified footage showed a number of shooting victims lying motionless in pools of blood outside the hall, Reuters reported, and another showed two gunmen entering the venue while firing automatic rifles.

The gunfire broke out just as crowds gathered for a concert by Picnic, a famed Russian rock band that was barred from performing in Ukraine in 2016 after it performed in annexed Crimea. (Ukraine has fervently denied any involvement in the Moscow attack on Friday.)

At the time of the ban, its bass player, Marat Korchemny, told a Crimean news outlet, “We don’t care about sanctions at all.” “Politics comes and goes, but life remains,” he said. “Now no one will remember who was the minister 20-30 years ago, but Picnic will be remembered.”

Band members reportedly added in 2016 that they came to Crimea to “spit on sanctions,” reported the Ukrainian outlet Online.ua.

The Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia said in a statement that shots broke out before the show began.

“This evening, before the start of an event in a concert hall in Krasnogorsk, unknown men in camouflage clothing burst into the building and started shooting,” the office stated.

A TASS correspondent at the scene reported the venue’s roof was beginning to collapse in some places by 10:30 p.m. local time. It’s unclear if anyone remained inside the building at that point.

U.S. Embassy Warns of Imminent Attacks by ‘Extremists’ in Moscow

The attack comes on the heels of U.S. Embassy authorities in Moscow issuing a statement earlier this month that urged Americans to avoid crowded places in the Russian capital, fearing an attack was imminent.

The Russian Telegram channel Baza reported that authorities are now searching for suspects in camouflage, who are suspected to have escaped from the scene. Earlier reports indicated the shooters may have barricaded themselves inside the venue.

Mass panic appears to have set in, particularly after rumors spread on a Telegram account for Cheka-OGPU, which claims close ties with Russia’s security services, saying the assailants ditched their camouflage and burned it at the venue—sparking fears they could now be blending in with the Russian public.

Authorities have not announced any arrests in the attack, but are reportedly searching for a Renault car in connection to it.

Regional leaders throughout Russia, including in the annexed Kherson region of Ukraine, announced Friday night that all public events were cancelled over the weekend due to security concerns.

Pro-Ukrainian Russian militia groups have been attacking Belgorod and Kursk in recent days in an attempt to pressure Russia to stop the war in Ukraine. One of those militia groups, the Russian Volunteer Corps, said it wasn’t responsible for the shooting attack at Crocus City Hall, according to Novaya Gazeta.

“Obviously, we have nothing to do with this,” a representative of the Russian Volunteer Corps told Novaya Gazeta.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s adviser issued an equally strong statement to deny involvement, writing to X that Ukraine had nothing to do with the terror attack.

“Ukraine certainly has nothing to do with the shooting/explosions in the Crocus City Hall (Moscow Region, Russia),” Mykhailo Podolyak said. “It makes no sense whatsoever.”

Ukraine Fightback Forces Thousands of Kids to Evacuate Inside Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who won re-election just days ago, is yet to address the carnage publicly. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Putin was alerted to the attack just minutes after the first shots were fired.

Earlier this week, Putin dismissed the idea of attacks on crowded venues, accusing the west of sharing such warnings to “intimidate and destabilize our society,” according to Meduza.

White House spokesman John Kirby said Friday that the White House was looking for more information about the attack, adding that the images of shooting in Moscow were hard to watch.

“The images are just horrible and just hard to watch and our thoughts obviously are going to be with the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack,” he told reporters.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.