Terrorist attack on Moscow concert hall leaves at least 133 dead and hundreds of injuries

Hundreds of people had to be evacuated and hours later, the Islamic State (ISIS) confirmed responsibility for the attacks.

(AFP / VOZ NEWS) A shooting followed by a fire broke out this Friday night in a Moscow concert hall. According to Russian authorities, at least 133 people were killed and hundreds of injuries. 11 people were arrested, according to Russian intelligence agencies.

The Islamic State acknowledged responsibility for the attack on Friday afternoon just hours afterward. As confirmed in a statement released via Telegram, its fighters "attacked a large gathering ... on the outskirts of the Russian capital, Moscow."

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin reported several deaths and said that one of the first attacks took place in a concert hall where several men started shooting at the crowd:

The incident took place at Crocus City Hall in the northwest of the Russian capital. Emergency services told Russian state-owned news agency TASS that the people at the scene were evacuated. A reporter from the Ria Novosti agency reported injuries and shots from "automatic weapons."

The security guards working at the event reported that at least 100 attendees had to evacuate through the basement, while others attempted to take refuge on the roof.

Local and international reactions

Hours after the attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident a "savage terrorist act" in a televised statement on Saturday, adding that Sunday will be a national day of mourning. He also said that the arrestees tried to flee to Ukraine and that those responsible will be punished, AFP reported

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the shooting and subsequent fire "a bloody terrorist attack. … The entire international community must condemn this heinous crime!" Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted on Telegram. Russian security services (FSB) reported there was "an attack" that left a number of people dead and wounded.

The White House sent its condolences Friday to the victims of the "terrible" event and said it is trying to get more information. "Our thoughts are with the victims of this terrible shooting attack," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. "The images are just horrible and just hard to watch," he added.

Kirby also said that "there is no indication at this time that Ukraine or Ukrainians were involved in the shooting." Mikhail Podoliak, advisor to the Ukrainian president, shared a similar statement. He took to social media to deny any Ukrainian involvement in the event: "Of course, Ukraine has nothing to do with the shooting or the explosions."

Zakharova was quick to respond to Kirby and cast doubt on his claims about Ukraine. "On what basis do officials in Washington draw any conclusions in the midst of the tragedy about anyone's involvement? If the United States has or had reliable information on this matter, it must be immediately handed over to the Russian side," she replied.

"All those involved, as stated by the Russian leadership, will be identified by the competent authorities," she added.

Dmitry Medvedev, former president of Russia, called directly for revenge against those responsible for the attack. "If it is determined that they are terrorists of the Kiev regime (...) All of them must be found and mercilessly destroyed as terrorists. Including the state officials who committed such an atrocity. Death for death," he expressed.

One of the first international leaders to react to the events was Giorgia Meloni. The Italian prime minister shared her condolences on social media, where she wrote that "the horror of the massacre of innocent civilians in Moscow is unacceptable. The Italian government strongly and absolutely condemns this heinous act of terrorism. I express my full solidarity with the people affected and the families of the victims," she added.

Meloni was joined by Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland. "The heads of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of the Interior and the Coordinator of Special Services are keeping me informed about the circumstances of the attack in Moscow and the possible consequences for the situation in the region and the security of the country," he posted on his X account.

The Government of Javier Milei (Argentina) expressed its thoughts through a communiqué issued by the Foreign Ministry. "The Argentine Republic expresses its strong condemnation and repudiation of the terrorist attack perpetrated today at the Crocus City Hall concert hall, near the city of Moscow. It also expresses its condolences and sympathy to the families of the many victims and hopes for the speedy recovery of the wounded," the letter reads.

Picnic, the band whose concert was about to start when the shooting broke out, also spoke on the matter and confirmed that all its members are safe. "A tragedy the magnitude of which we can’t yet estimate took place in Crocus City Hall today. We’re following the news, waiting for official information. The musicians and the band’s management are alive and safe."

Meanwhile, the Novaya Gazeta Europa reported that Russian law enforcement managed to detain one of the shooters. The same outlet reported that the other four suspects fled the scene.