Islamic State Releases Photos and Video of ‘Attackers’ as Gory Details of Moscow Attack Emerge

Last Updated: March 24, 2024, 09:48 IST

A Kalashnikov assault rifle lies on the ground as Russian investigators work the scene after an attack on the building of the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia. (AP)

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack but there were indications that Russia was pursuing a Ukrainian link

A video shot by gunmen who carried out the deadly attack on a Moscow concert hall has been posted on social media accounts used by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS), according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

This came as Islamic State claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack that killed 150 people but there were indications that Russia was pursuing a Ukrainian link. Russian authorities said they had arrested 11 people including four suspected gunmen in connection with the attack. The video seen by prominent news agencies, which lasts a minute and a half, shows several individuals with blurred faces and garbled voices, armed with assault rifles and knives. They appear to be the lobby of the Crocus City Hall concert venue in Krasnogorsk, northwest of the Russian capital.

The attackers fire several bursts of gunfire, numerous inert bodies are strewn about and a fire can be seen starting in the background. The video appeared on a Telegram account considered, according to the SITE monitoring group, to belong to Amaq, the news arm of IS. Islamic State earlier released a photo of what it said were the four attackers behind a shooting rampage on Friday. “The attack comes within the context of a raging war between the Islamic State and countries fighting Islam,” Amaq added in a statement citing security sources.

’28 bodies found in a single toilet’

Gory details have emerged from the shooting that President Vladimir Putin called “a bloody, barbaric terrorist act”. According to the Baza telegram channel, 28 bodies were found in a single toilet, where people had sought shelter from the shooting. As many as 14 bodies were discovered in an emergency stairwell.

The assault came two weeks after the US Embassy in Moscow issued a notice urging Americans to avoid crowded places in view of “imminent” plans by extremists to target large Moscow gatherings, including concerts. Several other Western embassies repeated the warning. On Saturday, Russian authorities captured the four suspects as they were trying to escape to Ukraine through a “window” prepared for them on the Ukrainian side of the border. Investigators combed through the charred wreckage of the hall for more victims. Hundreds of people stood in line in Moscow to donate blood and plasma.

Russian news reports cited authorities and witnesses as saying the attackers threw explosive devices that started the fire, which eventually consumed the building and caused its roof to collapse. Russian media broadcast videos that showed the detention and interrogation of the suspects, including one who told the cameras he was approached by an unidentified assistant to an Islamic preacher via a messaging app and paid to take part in the raid.

(With agency inputs)

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