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Russia: At Least 93 Dead, Over 187 Injured, ISIL Claims Responsibility In Deadly Attack



Russia: At Least 93 Dead, Over 187 Injured, ISIL Claims Responsibility In Deadly Attack

Several gunmen burst into the concert hall and opened fire with automatic weapons

Moscow, Russia– No fewer than 93 people have been killed with over 187 others injured after gunmen opened fire on concertgoers near Moscow and set off explosives that started a massive blaze at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall on Friday evening in Russia.

The attack, which Russian authorities are investigating as terrorism, is the deadliest in Russia in recent years.

More than 70 ambulance teams were sent to the sight of the attack, the governor of the Moscow region reported.

Most of the building is engulfed in fire and the roof partially collapsed, Russian news agency Interfax reported. The attack was carried out by a group of up to five unknown people.

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Several gunmen burst into the concert hall and opened fire with automatic weapons, state news outlet RIA Novosti reported.

It was gathered that the attackers threw a grenade or incendiary bomb, starting a fire in the hall, according to Russian state media.

The Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), claimed responsibility for the attack on its Telegram channel, saying the gunmen had escaped. It was not possible to independently verify the claim.

On Saturday, a spokesperson for Russia’s Investigative Committee said it was too early to say anything about the fate of the attackers, state news agency RIA reported.

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The concert hall, one of the most popular in Moscow, can hold some 6,200 people.

Alexei, a music producer, was about to settle into his seat ahead when he said he heard “several machineguns bursts” and “a lot of screams”.

“I realised right away that it was automatic gunfire and understood that most likely it’s the worst: a terrorist attack,” Alexei told the AFP news agency, declining to share his full name.

According to National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby, the White House is aware of the incident in Moscow but has limited information.

“The images are just horrible. And just hard to watch, and our thoughts, obviously, are going to be with the – the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack,” Kirby said.

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Kirby also reiterated the State Department’s warning that all Americans in Moscow should avoid large gatherings, saying “They should stay put where they are, and stay plugged into the State Department for any additional updates and information.”

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a warning on March 7, advising U.S. citizens to avoid large gatherings for 48 hours, saying extremists have “imminent plans” to target large-scale gatherings in Moscow.

The attack comes days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide.

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