60 Killed, Over 100 Injured In Moscow Concert Hall Attack; ISIS Claims Responsibility | World News

New Delhi: The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has claimed responsibility for the large-scale attack on a concert hall in Moscow, Russia. The assault resulted in at least 60 fatalities and over 100 injuries, according to Zee News TV. 

In an unfateful turn of events, a group of armed individuals entered the Crocus City Hall concert venue and initiated gunfire and explosions among the attendees on Friday, local time. ISIS claimed accountability for the incident through a brief statement disseminated by the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq on Telegram. However, the group has not presented any evidence to substantiate its claim. 

Video footage from the scene showed the Crocus City Hall in flames, with smoke rising into the sky. The footage also captured panicked crowds seeking refuge, screaming, and taking cover behind seats as gunfire erupted in the expansive hall.

State-run RIA Novosti reported the armed individuals “opened fire with automatic weapons” and “threw a grenade or an incendiary bomb, which started a fire.” They then “allegedly fled in a white Renault car,” the news agency said.

US Intelligence

According to the New York times, the claim by the Islamic State was also confirmed by US officials shortly afterwards. The US officials said they had privately apprised Russian officials about the intelligence pointing to an impending attack, the New York Times reported.

The United States collected intelligence in March that Islamic State-Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, had been planning an attack on Moscow, according to officials. The branch of the group based in Afghanistan. ISIS members have been active in Russia, a US official said.

After a period of relative quiet, the Islamic State has been trying to increase its external attacks, according to US counterterrorism officials. Most of those plots in Europe have been thwarted, prompting assessments that the group has diminished capabilities.

The attack on Friday in Moscow, followed by the one in Iran in January, could prompt a reassessment of its ability to strike outside its home territory, according to the NYT.

ISIS v/s Putin

“ISIS-K has been fixated on Russia for the past two years,” frequently criticising President Vladimir Putin in its propaganda, said Colin P Clarke, a counterterrorism analyst at the Soufan Group, a security consulting firm based in New York.

“ISIS-K accuses the Kremlin of having Muslim blood in its hands, referencing Moscow’s interventions in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Syria,” he added.

According to reports from the New York Times, US officials stated that they had not only publicly alerted about a potential attack on March 7 but had also privately informed Russian authorities about intelligence indicating an imminent threat. However, the extent of information shared beyond the public warning remains unclear.

Previously, the US had also cautioned Iran about a potential attack preceding twin bombings in January. These bombings, which claimed the lives of at least 103 individuals and injured 211 others during a memorial service for Iran’s former top general, Qassim Suleimani, were attributed to ISIS-K.

Rescue Operation 

Meanwhile, regional governor Andrey Vorobyov emphasized that every effort was being made to rescue individuals in what is now deemed the deadliest terrorist attack on Moscow in decades. Response teams, including a SWAT unit, over 70 ambulance teams, and medical professionals, were mobilized to aid the victims.

According to the Russian Health Ministry’s statement to TASS, 115 individuals, including five children, have been hospitalized, with 60 in critical condition. Moscow City Duma Chairman Alexey Shaposhnikov appealed to residents to donate blood, stressing its vital role in treating numerous victims.

Approximately 100 people were evacuated from the building by firefighters, as reported by TASS. Rescue operations are ongoing, with responders still working to extract individuals from the roof, as confirmed by the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation.

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