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Moscow concert hall attack: what we know so far

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Dozens of people have reportedly been killed and scores wounded in an attack at a concert venue near Moscow.

Here is what we know about the shooting so far:

  • Gunmen opened fire at the 6,200-seat Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk near Moscow on Friday evening as people were taking their seats for a sold-out concert by the Russian rock group Piknik.

  • Sixty people were killed, a spokesperson for Russia’s Investigative Committee said in the early hours of Saturday according to Russian media, and the number may rise. Earlier authorities had said at least 145 were wounded. Ria news agency quoted Moscow governor Andrey Vorobyov as saying 110 adults and five children had been hospitalised, with 60 adults in a serious condition.

  • Up to five gunmen were believed to be involved in the attack, which was later claimed by Islamic State in a post on Telegram which suggested that the attackers had managed to escape afterwards. Videos released by social media channels close to the security services showed at least two armed men walking into the hall.

  • The Russian national guard was searching for the attackers, Russian news agencies reported. The Investigative Committee said early Saturday it was too early to say anything about the fate of the attackers.

  • Videos emerged showing gunmen in tactical gear opening fire with automatic weapons as panicked Russians fled for their lives. One witness told the news agency AFP that as people ran towards emergency exits, “there was a terrible crush” with concert-goers climbing on one another’s heads to get out.

  • A journalist for state news agency Ria at the concert said the attackers also threw a grenade or incendiary bomb, which began a blaze that quickly spread through the building. The roof of the venue was collapsing, Ria reported. Three helicopters were involved in efforts to put out the fire. Shortly after midnight, the emergencies ministry said the fire had been contained.

  • The emergencies ministry said that fire services had helped about 100 people escape through the basement of the concert hall. Tass news agency said that all of the Piknik group had been evacuated safely. Rescue operations were also launched for people trapped on the roof.

  • Authorities said a “terrorist” investigation had been started and President Vladimir Putin was receiving “constant” updates, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies.

  • Earlier this month, western countries led by the United States had issued terror warnings and told their citizens not to join public gatherings in Russia. On 8 March, the US embassy wrote it was “monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and US citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours”.

  • Russia did not immediately blame anyone for the attack. Former president Dmitry Medvedev did say, however, that Ukrainian leaders found to be involved would be “destroyed”.

  • The US presidency called the attack “terrible” and said there was no immediate sign of any link to the conflict in Ukraine. Ukraine’s presidency said Kyiv had “nothing to do” with the attack, while its military intelligence called the incident a Russian “provocation” and charged that Moscow special services were behind it.

  • Russia tightened security at airports, transport hubs and across the capital – a vast urban area of over 21 million people. All large-scale public events have been cancelled across the country.

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