Gunmen kill 40, wound 100 at the Crocus City Hall near Moscow, Russia

Gunmen kill 40, wound 100 at the Crocus City Hall near Moscow, Russia
  • PublishedMarch 24, 2024

Gunmen dressed in camouflage with automatic weapons have opened fire at a crowd, Russia’s FSB security service says.

At least 40 people have been killed and more than 100 injured when gunmen dressed in camouflage opened fire with automatic weapons at people at a concert in the Crocus City Hall near Moscow, Russia’s FSB security service says.

In one of the worst such attacks in Russia in years, at least five gunmen were shown in unverified videos firing repeatedly at screaming civilians cowering in the concert hall as Soviet-era rock group “Picnic” was about to perform.

Other video footage showed the men shooting people below what looked like an entrance sign to Crocus City Hall. People lying motionless in pools of blood outside the hall were also visible.

All the tickets in the 6200-seat concert hall had been sold out. State news agency TASS cited Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, as saying 40 people had been killed and more than 100 wounded.

“Suddenly there were bangs behind us – shots. A burst of firing – I do not know what,” one witness who asked not to be named told Reuters.

“A stampede began, everyone ran to the escalator.

“Everyone was screaming, everyone was running.”

Flames leapt into the sky and plumes of black smoke rose above the venue as hundreds of blue lights from emergency vehicles flashed into the night, Reuters pictures and video showed.

Helicopters sought to douse the flames and evacuated around 100 people from the basement, Russian media reported. The roof of the venue was collapsing, state news agency RIA said.

It was not immediately clear who the gunmen were. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Russian news agencies said 70 ambulance crews had been sent to the scene.

“A terrible tragedy occurred in the shopping centre Crocus City today,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said.

“I am sorry for the loved ones of the victims.”

Ambulances are parked near the burning building of the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow.
Ambulances are parked near the burning building of the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow. Credit: Sergei Vedyashkin/AP

The shooting began days after President Vladimir Putin was re-elected for a new six-year term and as Russia is prosecuting a war with Ukraine.

Putin has yet to comment in public.

Russia tightened security at airports and stations and across the capital – a vast urban area of more than 21 million people.

Russia’s foreign ministry said it was a “bloody terrorist attack”.

“The entire world community is obliged to condemn this monstrous crime,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

“All efforts are being thrown at saving people.”

In one unverified video posted on social media, men with automatic weapons were shown firing repeatedly at screaming civilians, including women, who were cowering below what looked like an entrance sign to Crocus City Hall.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the footage.

Another video showed the attackers shooting at people in the concert hall.

Ukraine responds

The White House said on Friday that images of shooting in the Russian capital were hard to watch.

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

The US embassy in Russia warned earlier this month that “extremists” had imminent plans for an attack in Moscow.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said that Kyiv had nothing to do with the attack.

“Let’s be straight about this: Ukraine had absolutely nothing to do with these events,” Podolyak said in a video message posted on Telegram.

“We have a full-scale, all-out war with the Russian regular army and with the Russian Federation as a country. And regardless of everything, everything will be decided on the battlefield.”

SOURCE: 7NEWS

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