Multiple victims of the Moscow attack, including children, are in serious condition, Russian officials say.

MOSCOW –

Twenty-two victims of the attack on a Russian concert hall that killed more than 130 people remain in serious condition in hospital, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said Tuesday, according to the state Tass news agency. Two of them are children, he said.

Russia is still reeling from Friday’s attack in which gunmen killed 139 people at a concert hall outside Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the gunmen are “radical Islamists,” but despite all the evidence pointing to Islamic State involvement, Putin reiterated his accusation that Ukraine could have played a role. kyiv has strongly denied any link to the attack.

Four men accused of carrying out the attack appeared in a Moscow court on Sunday accused of terrorism and showed signs of severe beatings. One of them appeared barely conscious during the hearing.

The men are citizens of Tajikistan, authorities said, and investigators identified them as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, 32; Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, 30 years old; Shamsidin Fariduni, 25 years old; and Mukhammadsobir Faizov, 19 years old. They were accused of committing a terrorist attack that caused the death of other people. The crime carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Russian officials said they detained a total of 11 people over the attack. Another of those arrested appeared in court on Monday. Alisher Kasimov, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, was accused of renting an apartment to the men accused of carrying out the attack.

A senior Turkish security official confirmed on Tuesday that two of the Moscow attackers had spent a “short time” in Turkey before traveling to Russia together on March 2.

One of the attackers, Fariduni, entered Turkey on February 20, checked into a hotel in Istanbul’s Fatih district the next day and left on February 27, the official said. The other, Rachabalizoda, checked into a hotel in the same district on January 5 and left on January 21.

The official said Turkish authorities believe the two suspects “became radicalized in Russia” because they were not in Turkey for long. There was no warrant for their arrest, so they were allowed to travel freely between Russia and Turkey, the official said, speaking on condition. of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

Friday night’s attack at the Crocus City Hall music venue on Moscow’s western outskirts was one of the deadliest in Russia in years, leaving more than 180 people injured.

Two days after the Islamic State’s Afghan affiliate claimed responsibility for the music venue attack, Putin acknowledged during a meeting with government officials that the killings were carried out by extremists “whose ideology the Islamic world has been fighting.” during centuries”.

Putin, who declared over the weekend that the four attackers were arrested while trying to escape to Ukraine, said investigators have not determined who ordered the attack, but said it was necessary to find out “why the terrorists, after committing their crime , they tried to flee to Ukraine.” Ukraine and who was waiting for them there.”

The IS affiliate claimed to have carried out the attack and US intelligence said it had information confirming the group was responsible. French President Emmanuel Macron said France has intelligence pointing to “an IS entity” as responsible for the attack.

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Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Türkiye, contributed to this report.

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