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Mass casualty attack at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall: armed attackers shooting victims at point-blank range, reported death toll in the dozens

A mass shooting has broken out at Moscow’s Crocus City Hall, a major concert venue outside the Russian capital. Numerous eyewitness videos have been published on Telegram channels. Several armed individuals – at least five, according to Shot – opened fire from automatic weapons.

The 112 Telegram channel reports 40 dead and over 100 wounded as of 9 p.m. Moscow time.

A preliminary report by Baza suggests that four of the attackers have fled the crime site.

The attack occurred shortly before the concert of the Piknik band.

“We were sitting in the dress circle when we heard the shots. As we got up to run to the exit, we realized shots were coming from below as well. We lay flat on the floor and then realized people were climbing the stairs and joined them. We ended up somewhere upstairs and then found an escalator down. We hid behind some glass construction. Shots were being fired from every direction. We stayed down for a while, then joined a group of people running down the escalator. As we ran, we saw a girl’s body on the floor.”

A video of the first minutes of the attack has been released. The footage shows two armed individuals.

A fire broke out in the concert hall. Later, the media reported a partial collapse of the roof.

Footage has appeared in the media of armed attackers shooting spectators at point-blank range (warning for extreme violence!):

According to Baza, up to 100 people could still remain inside Crocus. Some of them may have taken cover on the ground floor, and another group is blocked by the fire on the third floor. The firefighters cannot begin extinguishing the fire until the spetsnaz forces complete their mission.

At 8:54 p.m., TASS reported that Rosgvardia fighters have arrived at Crocus.

The governor of Moscow Region Andrey Vorobyov has set out for the site of the attack:

“I’m on my way. A crisis center has been set up. Details later.”

At 9:02 p.m. TASS reported, citing Russia’s Ministry of Emergencies, that firefighters had evacuated approximately 100 people from the venue, and that the rescue operation was ongoing on the roof. More people are currently in need of being rescued from the roof, according to TASS.

“Many dead bodies”: paramedics are carrying the dead bodies out of Crocus. Journalist reports suggest the death toll is in the dozens.

On Mar. 8, multiple foreign governments warned about the risk of mass casualty attacks in Russia, including the UK, Latvia, South Korea, Sweden, and Canada. They did so after the U.S. Embassy in Russia issued a warning about possible terror attacks in Moscow in the two days that followed:

“The Embassy is monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and U.S. citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours. Actions to Take: avoid crowds, monitor local media for updates, be aware of your surroundings.”

On the evening of March 22, gunfire erupted within the confines of the concert hall at Crocus City Hall. Several armed men unleashed a barrage of bullets from automatic rifles. The terrorist incident unfolded just moments before the scheduled commencement of the concert by the band Picnic. Up to 6,200 individuals could have been present inside the venue during the gunfire — nearly all tickets for the Picnic concert had been sold. According to the latest updates, the death toll from the Crocus City Hall attack has climbed to 133.

Russian authorities, including President Vladimir Putin, claim that the suspects in the terrorist attack were planning to flee to Ukraine and accused Kyiv of assisting terrorists.

Today, the head of the FSB reported to Putin about the arrest of 11 individuals, including four “direct” perpetrators who allegedly had contacts to cross the border.

Ukrainian authorities deny these allegations. Several Western media outlets, citing sources in American intelligence, reported yesterday that the attack could have been organized by an ISIS cell in Afghanistan. Media outlets note that the group itself claimed responsibility and refer to its statement on social networks. However, Russian propagandists dismissed this statement as a “fake.”

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