Death toll continues to rise after Moscow terror attack

Published 25 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The bloody terrorist attack has shaken Russian society.

By Sunday evening, the terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue had claimed at least 137 lives, and a large number of victims remain hospitalized with critical or serious injuries.

Four men have been arrested for carrying out the bloody massacre – and another seven have been detained for links to the terrorist attack.

Friday’s terrorist attack on a concert hall in Moscow has now claimed at least 137 lives, according to an update from Russian authorities. Meanwhile, the search for bodies continues in the building, which was destroyed by a fire set by the perpetrators.

A group of armed men stormed the venue in the evening during a concert by the rock band Picnic. Nearly 7,500 people were in the building when the terrorists first killed the guards and then opened fire on the crowd, using firebombs to start the fire that quickly spread through the building.

So far, only about 60 bodies have been positively identified – three of them children – and in addition to the dead, nearly 200 people were reportedly injured in the attack. Large amounts of ammunition and at least two automatic weapons left behind by the attackers as they fled were seized at the scene, and more weapons were found in the car in which the terrorists fled.

On Saturday, four of the perpetrators were arrested – along with seven other people suspected of being involved in the attack in various ways.

Foreign nationals

The arrested terrorists have been identified as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, 32 years old from Tajikistan; Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, age and place of residence unknown, but in need of an interpreter; Shamsidin Fariduni, 26 years old from Tajikistan; and Muhammadsober Faizov – possibly born in 2004 and registered in the city of Ivanovo, northeast of Moscow. All four are reportedly foreign nationals.

The Islamic State terrorist organization has officially claimed responsibility for the attack, but as the group has a history of claiming responsibility for acts committed by other groups, it is not yet clear who actually ordered the attack.

The four suspected terrorists. Montage. Photo: fasimil/X

The attack was the deadliest to hit Russia in over 20 years and has deeply shaken Russian society.

– Those responsible for the concert attack will be punished. The attack shows that terrorism is a significant threat to Russia, said Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

Putin calls for unity

In an address to the nation, President Vladimir Putin said that “all four perpetrators, who were directly involved in the terrorist attack, all those who shot and killed people, have been found and apprehended. They attempted to escape and were heading towards Ukraine, where, according to preliminary information, a window was prepared for them on the Ukrainian side to cross the state border”.

The focus now is on identifying and exposing their accomplices, those who provided the terrorists with transportation, planned escape routes and prepared weapons caches.

– However, it is already clear that we are confronted not simply with a carefully and cynically planned terrorist attack, but a premediated and organised mass murder of peaceful, defenceless people. The perpetrators cold-bloodedly and deliberately targeted our citizens, including our children, with the intent to kill them at close range, Putin continued, promising that all perpetrators, organisers and masterminds of this crime will face fair and inevitable punishment, whoever they may be and whoever directed them.

– Terrorists, murderers, those inhumane individuals who have no nationality and cannot have one, face one and the same gloomy prospect – retribution and oblivion. They have no future. Our common duty now, shared by our comrades–in-arms at the front and all citizens of our country, is to stand united as one. I am confident that we will, for nothing and no one can shake our unity and will, our determination and courage, the strength of the united people of Russia.

Putin also announced that a number of unspecified anti-terrorist and anti-sabotage measures had been introduced across Russia, and that more resources would be devoted to ensuring that such acts do not occur again.

Accusing Ukraine

Although no concrete evidence of Ukraine’s involvement in the attack has yet been presented, Sergei Goncharov, a veteran of the Russian anti-terrorist unit “Alpha”, believes that Kiev is likely directly responsible for the attack.

– What happened today was a terrible tragedy, and I think, a link in a chain. Therefore I think Ukraine will reject responsibility. Because nobody publicly approves of terrorist attacks. But in any case, at the moment I don’t see any factor that could take us away from the Ukrainian connection. It could have been some other organization, but I have no doubt that it was provoked by the Nazis of Ukraine, the retired intelligence officer said in an interview with Sputnik.

He adds that the Ukrainian intelligence service has publicly and repeatedly threatened to carry out attacks on Russian civilian targets – and says the terrorist threat from Kiev is very real and could include everything from shooters to arsonists and suicide bombers.

Ukraine itself denies any involvement in the terrorist attack – while France and several other countries have raised their terror alert to the highest level – precisely because of the bloody attack in Moscow.

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