Russia: several dead in a shooting, followed by the fire at a concert hall in Moscow

A shooting followed by a fire occurred Friday evening in a concert hall in the suburbs of Moscow, Russian news agencies and Telegram channels reported, some of them reporting deaths and injuries. This was immediately confirmed by the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin. “A terrible tragedy occurred today in Crocus City. I extend my condolences to the relatives of the dead,” he said, adding that all public events planned for this weekend in the Russian capital were canceled. Orthodox Patriarch Kirill “prays for peace for the souls of the deceased,” according to his spokesperson, Vladimir Legoida.

The facts, the exact nature of which remains to be clarified, took place at Crocus City Hall, a concert hall located in the northwest of the Russian capital. “Unknown persons opened fire at Crocus City Hall. The evacuation of people is underway,” emergency services told the state agency TASS. “The people in the room lay down on the ground to protect themselves from the gunfire for 15 to 20 minutes, after which they began to crawl out. Many managed to get out,” said this Ria journalist. Novosti.

Moscow denounces “a bloody terrorist attack”

According to emergency services, several people had to find shelter on the roof of the room. “Around a hundred people were evacuated from the basement of the building by firefighters. Work is underway to rescue people from the roof of the building using lifting equipment,” said the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Moscow region emergency on Telegram.

The emergency services, cited by the Interfax agency, reported a “group of two to five unidentified people wearing tactical uniforms and armed with automatic weapons” who “opened fire on security agents at the entrance to the concert hall” then “started shooting at the audience”.

Russian diplomacy denounced “a bloody terrorist attack”. “The entire world community must condemn this heinous crime!” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova added on Telegram. The White House, which sent its thoughts to the victims of this “horrible” attack, specifies that it has “no indication at this stage” of Ukrainian involvement. “I cannot give more details,” John Kirby, spokesperson for the National Security Council, also said, saying that the United States was seeking “to obtain more information.” At least 40 deaths have been reported as well as around a hundred injured, according to figures communicated by the FSB, the Russian security services.

Russia has been the target of numerous attacks in the past committed by Islamist groups, but also of shootings without political motives or attributed to unbalanced people. In 2002, Chechen fighters took 912 people hostage in the Moscow theater of Dubrovka to demand the withdrawal of Russian troops from Chechnya. The hostage-taking ended with an assault by special forces, and the death of 130 people, almost all of them asphyxiated by the gas used by the police.

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