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Saturday, March 23, 2024

Moscow concert hall attack: At least 60 killed and more than 100 wounded

Gunmen killed at least 60 people and injured more than 145 in a concert hall near Moscow, authorities announced late Friday in what Russia has described as a "terrorist attack."

"The bodies of the dead are being examined. It has been previously established that more than 60 people died as a result of the terrorist attack. Unfortunately, the number of victims may increase," according to a statement by Russia's Investigative Committee.

The number injured has differed in official sources. The Moscow region Health Ministry published a list of 147 people with wounds of varying degrees of severity. Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said he was aware of 115 people who were injured and the Russian Emergency Ministry published a list of 99 people who were hospitalized after the shooting.

The attack in Krasnogorsk, the administrative center of the Moscow region, took place as the music band Picnic was performing in the Crocus City Hall, according to preliminary information. The band was not injured in the attack, said law enforcement agencies.

An explosion was reported after the attack that caused a large fire that was later localized at the venue.

The Emergency Ministry said about one-third of the building was engulfed in flames, with several helicopters working to extinguish the blaze.

The fate of the attackers remains unknown, with some reports claiming they managed to flee the scene.

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced that all entertainment events in Moscow were canceled for the rest of the weekend.

The Investigative Committee announced it launched an investigation into the "terrorist attack," while Moscow's special envoy for Ukraine said Russia will request a meeting of the UN Security Council.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova told reporters that President Vladimir Putin "wished everyone recovery and expressed gratitude to the doctors."

US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said: "There's no indication" that Ukraine was involved in the "terrible" attack.

In response, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman questioned the basis for Washington's conclusions and said if the US "has or had reliable information in this regard, then it must be immediately transferred to the Russian side."

Ukrainian authorities denied any involvement in the shooting, with the Foreign Ministry claiming the attack was a "planned provocation" to "fuel anti-Ukrainian hysteria in Russian society" and discredit Kyiv internationally.

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