Sun, 14 April 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

Russia marks day of mourning after concert attack

Update : 24 Mar 2024, 18:31

Russia is observing a day of mourning after at least 133 people were killed on Friday evening in an attack at a packed concert venue in Moscow.

Flags are flying at half mast, many events have been cancelled and TV channels have updated their schedules.

More than 140 people were also injured when gunmen entered the Crocus City Hall, firing indiscriminately before setting it on fire.

The Islamic State (IS) group says it was behind the attack. On Saturday Amaq, the IS media outlet, posted an image of the four masked men they claimed were involved in the assault. Russia has not commented on the IS claim.

The group later released highly graphic footage from the attack. The video, which has been verified by the BBC as genuine, shows one of the gunmen opening fire on several people. The BBC will not be broadcasting this video.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said all four gunmen who carried out the attack have been arrested.

In his televised address on Saturday, Mr Putin condemned the massacre - the deadliest in Russia for nearly 20 years - as a "barbaric terrorist act" and repeated earlier suggestions by Russian security services that the attackers had tried to escape to Ukraine.

Kyiv dismissed the claim that it was in some way involved in the attack as "absurd".

 "To suggest the suspects were heading to Ukraine, would suggest they were stupid or suicidal," Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military intelligence directorate, told the BBC.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Mr Putin of seeking to "blame" Ukraine for the attack. "This worthless Putin, instead of dealing with his citizens of Russia, addressing them, remained silent for a day - thinking how to bring this to Ukraine," he said in his nightly address.

BBC Verify has been able to match details of two of the alleged attackers who appear in the IS video and an IS-released still image to videos of the arrested suspects posted on pro-Kremlin Telegram channels.

The US National Security Council said it warned Russia of a potential IS attack on "large gatherings", including concerts, in Moscow earlier this month. The Kremlin at the time dismissed that as "propaganda" and an attempt by Washington to meddle in the recent Russian election.

On Saturday, the White House said it condemned the "heinous" attack and described IS as "a common terrorist enemy that must be defeated everywhere".

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