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Gunmen Opened Fire In A Concert Hall In Russia, Killing At Least 137 People And Injuring 182 Others

ISIS-K, an offshoot of the Islamic State group (ISIS) that is primarily active in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Friday, March 22, gunmen opened fire inside a concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, killing at least 137 people and injuring 183 others.

The attack at the Crocus City Hall, which has a capacity of 6,200 people, happened at around 8pm local time before the rock group Picnic was supposed to perform a sold out show.

Before the band began their performance, masked gunmen opened fire on the crowd, and also reportedly slashed people, before setting the auditorium on fire. 

Video of the moment showed crowds inside the auditorium screaming and rushing for the exits as the sound of repeated gunshots rang out.

Other footage showed the music hall on fire, with the roof of the auditorium partially collapsing later on.

Russian authorities said some of the victims had died from smoke inhalation.

It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Russia since 2004.

ISIS-K, an offshoot of the Islamic State group (ISIS) that is primarily active in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Russian authorities have arrested 11 people, including four men suspected to have been directly involved in the attack.

The four men were officially identified as citizens of Tajikistan and charged with terrorism on March 24.

In a public address on Saturday March 23, Russian president Vladimir Putin called the attack a “barbaric terrorist act” and declared March 24 a national day of mourning as he vowed to punish those responsible.

However, Putin did not mention ISIS-K, suggesting that Ukraine may have been involved in  helping the gunmen.

‘They tried to hide and move towards Ukraine, where, according to preliminary data, a window was prepared for them from the Ukrainian side to cross the state border,’ Putin said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has denied any connection to the attack and said that Putin is trying to blame “someone else”.

Earlier in March, the US had warned Moscow about a planned terrorist attack, saying “that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow,” including concerts.

Canada and the UK had also issued similar warnings to their citizens in Russia.

However, Putin had told Russia’s security agency three days before the attack that the warnings from the West were “provocative” and “resemble outright blackmail and the intention to intimidate and destabilize our society”.

World leaders have condemned the attack.

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