Russia Shooting
A Russian law enforcement officer walks at a parking area near the burning Crocus City Hall concert venue following a shooting incident, outside Moscow, Russia, March 22, 2024. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
/

Gunmen Kill At Least 62 Russian Concertgoers In Attack Claimed By Islamic State

104 views

Camouflage-clad gunmen opened fire at a crowded concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow, killing at least 62 people and wounding more than 100 others.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the March 22 shooting at the 6,200-seat Crocus City Hall concert venue.

It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Russia since the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis, in which more than 330 people were killed.

The whereabouts of the gunmen remained unclear as of March 23, and there were conflicting reports as to how many attackers were involved.

Russia investigators continued to work at the scene of the attack, combing through debris and wreckage. Part of the venue’s roof collapsed in a fire that erupted shortly after the shooting began.

The death toll stood at 62, the federal Investigative Committee said on March 23. Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said 115 people were hospitalized.

Video posted on social media shortly after the attack began showed concertgoers entering the concert hall and taking their seats when pandemonium erupted.

As bullets sprayed around the hall, hundreds of people could be seen running for exits while others sought cover.

The scheduled concert was for a Soviet-era band called Piknik.

Russian news reports said the fire that partially collapsed the roof erupted on the upper floors after one of the gunmen threw an incendiary grenade or some other flammable device.

Hours after the incident began, Telegram channels affiliated with Islamic State ran a statement saying the group’s fighters “attacked a large gathering…on the outskirts of the Russian capital, Moscow.”

The statement by Islamic State said the attackers had “retreated to their bases safely,” though that claim could not be independently confirmed.

It was not clear whether the militants had been able to leave the building as it was engulfed in flames.

U.S. officials in Washington confirmed the authenticity of the Islamic State claim in comments to The New York Times, CBS News, and other media.

Two weeks earlier, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow had warned Russia that “extremists” had imminent plans for an attack in the capital.

Around the same time, Russia’s main domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, claimed it had stopped an attack on a Moscow synagogue by Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, known as ISIS-Khorasan or ISIS-K.

President Vladimir Putin did not immediately make any statement on the attack. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian media that Putin “gave all the necessary instructions.”

Gunmen Kill

A growing number of world leaders condemned the attack.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he condemns the incident “in the strongest possible terms,” and the United States, France, Turkey, Italy, and the EU also issued statements deploring the violence.

The Crocus City Hall is a popular concert venue in a high-end district on the edge of Moscow that attracts major Russian musical acts.

With reporting by Reuters