Moscow | Attack in concert hall leaves at least 40 dead, 100 injured

(Krasnogorsk) At least 40 people were killed and more than a hundred injured Friday evening in an armed attack followed by a huge fire in a concert hall in the suburbs of Moscow, according to the authorities who denounce “a bloody terrorist attack” .




Russian law enforcement officials said they were “looking” for the attackers, whose motives were not immediately known. They did not specify whether any suspects were still in the building, although an investigation into a “terrorist act” was opened.

The spokesperson for Russian diplomacy, Maria Zakharova denounced a “bloody terrorist attack” and a “monstrous crime”. Ukraine and a unit of pro-Ukraine fighters behind recent armed border incursions have denied responsibility, even blaming Russian secret services.

This assault by several armed individuals took place in the evening at Crocus City Hall, a concert hall located in Krasnogorsk, just outside the northwest exit of the Russian capital.

An AFP journalist saw the building engulfed in a large fire, plumes of black smoke escaping from the roof, as well as a very large presence of the police and emergency services, whose blue flashing lights illuminated by dozens at night.

According to a journalist from the state news agency Ria Novosti, individuals in camouflage clothing burst onto the floor of the concert hall before opening fire and throwing “a grenade or an incendiary bomb, which caused a fire.

The fire spread to nearly 13,000 m2 of the building, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations cited by Russian agencies.

PHOTO DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV, ASSOCIATED PRESS

The attack by several armed individuals took place in the evening at Crocus City Hall, a concert hall located in Krasnogorsk, a suburb just outside the northwest of the Russian capital.

“The people in the room lay on the ground to protect themselves from the gunfire for 15 to 20 minutes, after which they started crawling out. Many managed to get out,” said this Ria Novosti journalist.

President Vladimir Putin is “constantly” informed and was informed “from the first minutes” of the attack, said his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

Armed men

The emergency services, cited by the Interfax agency, reported a “group of two to five unidentified people wearing tactical uniforms and armed with automatic weapons” who “opened fire on security agents at the entrance to the concert hall” then “started shooting at the audience”.

The Telegram news channels Baza and Mash, known to be close to the police, published videos showing at least two armed men advancing in the hall and others in which we can see corpses and groups of people rushing towards the exit.

Other images show spectators hiding behind seats or evacuating the concert hall.

According to the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, firefighters managed to evacuate around a hundred people who were in the basement of the room. Operations are underway to “rescue people from the roof of the building using lifting equipment”.

PHOTO MOSCOW NEWS AGENCY, PROVIDED TO REUTERS

Law enforcement officers are on site.

The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, announced the cancellation of all public events. The capital’s main museums and theaters have announced their closure.

This attack occurred during a concert by the Russian rock group Piknik, whose members were evacuated, the TASS agency reported.

Ukraine denies any involvement

The White House is “in thoughts with the victims of the terrible attack”, said a spokesperson for the American presidency, referring to “horrible and difficult to watch images”. She said she had “no indication at this stage that Ukraine or Ukrainians are involved.”

An adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, Mykhaïlo Podoliak, affirmed that Ukraine, which has been facing a Russian military offensive for two years, “has absolutely nothing to do” with the shooting, which he described as “ terrorist act.”

PHOTO MAXIM SHEMETOV, REUTERS

The building is engulfed in a massive fire.

A unit of Russian anti-Kremlin fighters behind several armed incursions on the Russian border in recent months, the Russian Freedom Legion, has also denied any involvement. “The Legion does not fight Russian civilians,” assured this group.

Ukrainian military intelligence accused “Russian special services” of being behind the attack in Moscow in order to “accuse Ukraine” and provoke escalation and extend “its assault against its neighbor “.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev assured him that Moscow would kill Ukrainian leaders if it turned out that they were involved in this attack.

The US Embassy in Russia warned its citizens two weeks ago that “extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, including concerts.”

“If the United States has or had reliable data on this matter, it must immediately transmit it to the Russian side,” Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

Russia has been the target of numerous attacks in the past committed by Islamist groups but also of shootings without political motives or attributed to unbalanced people.

In 2002, Chechen fighters took 912 people hostage in the Moscow theater of Dubrovka to demand the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya.

The hostage-taking ended with an assault by special forces, and the death of 130 people, almost all of them asphyxiated by the gas used by the police.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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