Tragedy Strikes Moscow Rock Concert: 133 Dead in Terrorist Attack

In a horrific assault on a sold-out rock concert near Moscow, at least 133 people lost their lives, marking it as the deadliest attack on the capital region in over a decade. The incident occurred around 8 p.m. local time on Friday when gunmen in camouflage opened fire in the concert venue just moments before a veteran rock band was set to perform. Social media videos verified by The New York Times captured the chaos, with concertgoers fleeing past injured victims and flames engulfing the venue's upper floors.

According to Russia's Investigative Committee, the attackers used automatic weapons, explosives, and a flammable liquid to set the concert hall ablaze while people were still inside. The death toll continued to rise as emergency workers cleared the rubble, with authorities warning that more casualties were likely. The Kremlin announced that 11 individuals, including all four terrorists directly involved, had been detained in connection with the attack.

Video: Several armed men have forcibly entered the Crocus City Hall concert venue in Moscow

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through an affiliated news agency. U.S. security officials attributed the attack to a branch of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Khorasan, or ISIS-K, active in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. However, there were indications that Russia might attempt to blame Ukraine for the attack. Russia's domestic intelligence agency claimed that the attackers planned to escape to Ukraine, while President Vladimir V. Putin suggested that "the Ukrainian side" had facilitated their crossing into the country.

In response, Kyiv denied any involvement, labeling such accusations as a ploy to garner support for the Kremlin's war in Ukraine. American officials also refuted any evidence linking Ukraine to the attack. Among the victims were three children, with at least 145 people injured and 107 still hospitalized as of Saturday morning.

The attack sparked a wave of solidarity, with people from Russia and beyond laying flowers, toys, and candles at impromptu memorials for the victims. Lines at hospitals in Moscow grew as individuals came to donate blood. U.S. officials revealed that they had privately warned Russia earlier in the month about intelligence indicating potential Islamic State activity, which also prompted a security alert by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on March 7, cautioning American citizens about possible attacks on large gatherings in Moscow.

The concert took place at Crocus City Hall, part of a vast shopping and entertainment complex in suburban Krasnogorsk, developed by Azerbaijani-born billionaire Aras Agalarov. The complex gained international attention when former President Donald J. Trump hosted the Miss Universe pageant there in 2013. 

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