International News

Gunmen Attack In Russia: What We Know So Far

Ashley Snyder

DISCLAIMER: This article was completed on Monday 25th March. Any developments following this date have not been included.

On Friday March 22, gunmen wearing camouflage fatigues and carrying automatic weapons started shooting innocent concert goers at point-blank range at the Crocus City complex, a venue located on the northwestern edge of Moscow. Some 6,500 tickets had been sold for the event.

In addition to firing automatic weapons, the attackers started fires using Molotov cocktails which resulted in the roof of the venue partially collapsing.

As of Monday March 25, the death toll had reached at least 137 people, with at least 187 people being injured including eight children.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility

Late on the night of the attack, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on their news agency site Aamaq, and this claim was verified by US officials.

Two sources with US intelligence said that there have been consistent signs since November that ISIS-K (an affiliate of the Islamic State based in Afghanistan) was preparing to conduct an attack in Russia. US National Security spokesperson Adrienne Watson said that the US had shared the information pointing to an attack with Russian authorities, but during a speech on Tuesday March 19, Putin called the warnings “provocative” and said the warnings “resemble outright blackmail”.

Putin continued to ignore US intelligence information, despite Russian authorities reporting prevention of multiple ISIS-related incidents over the past month.

Russia […] cancelled all major public events across the nation

Following the attack on the 22nd, Russia tightened security across Moscow and cancelled all major public events across the nation. A day of mourning was observed nationwide on Sunday.

Little is known so far about the four men who Russia has charged with committing acts of terrorism following the attack. When the four men appeared in court on Sunday night, they appeared to have been beaten, and one was brought into court in a wheelchair.

They were arrested in the Bryansk region

Named by Russian authorities, Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, Saidakrami Murodali Rachabalizoda, Shamsidin Fariduni and Muhammadsobir Fayzov were all identified as citizens of Tajikistan. They were arrested in the Bryansk region, around 400km (250 miles) southwest of Moscow, fourteen hours after the attack.

The Russian court has said that all four men are being held in pre-trial detention until at least May 22.

Ashley Snyder

Featured image courtesy of Alexsandr Popov via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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