UNITED STATES NEWS

Russia detains 11 in an attack on Moscow concert hall that killed at least 133

Mar 22, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: Mar 23, 2024, 7:45 am

A Russian Rosguardia (National Guard) servicemen secures an area as a massive blaze seen over the C...

A Russian Rosguardia (National Guard) servicemen secures an area as a massive blaze seen over the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 22, 2024. Several gunmen have burst into a big concert hall in Moscow and fired automatic weapons at the crowd, injuring an unspecified number of people and setting a massive blaze in an apparent terror attack days after President Vladimir Putin cemented his grip on the country in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide. (AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

(AP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that authorities have detained 11 people in the attack on a suburban Moscow concert hall that killed at least 133 people and left the sprawling venue a smoldering ruin.

In an address to the nation, Putin called it “a bloody, barbaric terrorist act” and said all four people who were directly involved had been taken into custody. He suggested they had been trying to cross the border into Ukraine which, he said, tried to create a “window” to help them escape.

Ukraine has strongly denied any involvement in the attack. Putin said Saturday that additional security measures have been imposed throughout the country and declared March 24 a day of national mourning.

The Islamic State group’s Afghanistan branch claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack in a statement posted on affiliated channels on social media. A U.S. intelligence official told The Associated Press that U.S. agencies had confirmed that the group was responsible for the attack.

The attack, which was the deadliest in Russia in years, came just days after Putin cemented his grip on power in a highly orchestrated electoral landslide and as the country’s war in Ukraine dragged into a third year.

Some Russian lawmakers pointed the finger at Ukraine immediately after the attack. But Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, denied any involvement.

“Ukraine has never resorted to the use of terrorist methods,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter. “Everything in this war will be decided only on the battlefield.”

Ukraine’s foreign ministry also denied that the country had any involvement and accused Moscow of using the attack to try to stoke fervor for its war efforts.

“We consider such accusations to be a planned provocation by the Kremlin to further fuel anti-Ukrainian hysteria in Russian society, create conditions for increased mobilization of Russian citizens to participate in the criminal aggression against our country and discredit Ukraine in the eyes of the international community,” a ministry said in a statement.

Images shared by Russian state media Saturday showed a fleet of emergency vehicles still gathered outside the ruins of Crocus City Hall, which had a maximum capacity of more than 6,000 people.

Videos posted online showed gunmen in the venue shooting civilians at point-blank range. Russian news reports cited authorities and witnesses as saying the attackers threw explosive devices that started the fire. The roof of the theater, where crowds had gathered for a performance by the Russian rock band Picnic, collapsed early Saturday as firefighters spent hours fighting the blaze.

In a statement posted by its Aamaq news agency, the IS’s Afghanistan affiliate said it had attacked a large gathering of “Christians” in Krasnogorsk. It was not immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the claim.

A U.S. intelligence official told the AP that American intelligence agencies had gathered information in recent weeks that the IS branch was planning an attack in Moscow, and that U.S. officials had privately shared the intelligence earlier this month with Russian officials.

The official was briefed on the matter but was not authorized to publicly discuss the intelligence information and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Messages of outrage, shock and support for the victims and their families have streamed in from around the world.

On Friday, the U.N. Security Council condemned “the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack” and underlined the need for the perpetrators to be held accountable. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the terrorist attack “in the strongest possible terms,” his spokesman said.

Meanwhile hundreds of people stood in line on Saturday in Moscow to donate blood and plasma, Russia’s health ministry said.

Putin, who extended his grip on Russia for another six years in this week’s presidential vote after a sweeping crackdown on dissent, had publicly denounced the Western warnings of a potential terrorist attack as an attempt to intimidate Russians. “All that resembles open blackmail and an attempt to frighten and destabilize our society,” he said earlier this week.

In October 2015, a bomb planted by IS downed a Russian passenger plane over Sinai, killing all 224 people on board, most of them Russian vacation-goers returning from Egypt. The group, which operates mainly in Syria and Iraq but also in Afghanistan and Africa, also has claimed several attacks in Russia’s volatile Caucasus and other regions in the past years. It recruited fighters from Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union.

United States News

Associated Press

Catholic priest resigns from Michigan church following protests over his criticism of a gay author

BEAL CITY, Mich. (AP) — A Catholic priest has resigned as pastor of a church in a small central Michigan community, the result of weeks of controversy following his publicly expressed regret that a gay author had read a book to preschool children. Gay rights activists and others have held regular protests outside St. Joseph […]

9 minutes ago

Associated Press

Judge drops some charges against ex-Minnesota college student feared of plotting campus shooting

NORTHFIELD, Minn. (AP) — A judge has dismissed some of the most serious charges against a former Minnesota college student who police and prosecutors feared was plotting a campus shooting. Waylon Kurts, of Montpelier, Vermont, who was then a student at St. Olaf College in Northfield, was charged last April with conspiracy to commit second-degree […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

A man gets 19 years for a downtown St. Louis crash that cost a teen volleyball player her legs

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis man has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for causing a downtown accident that resulted in the amputation of the legs of a teenage volleyball player from Tennessee. Daniel Riley, 22, was convicted last month of second-degree assault, armed criminal action, fourth-degree assault and driving without a […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

The Latest | Third and fourth alternates selected for Trump’s hush money trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Three more alternates in Donald Trump ‘s hush money case were picked by early afternoon on Friday as jury selection moved forward for a fourth and possibly final day. The proceedings followed an intense day Thursday that ultimately saw 12 jurors and one alternate sworn-in by late afternoon after two previously […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Wall Street limps toward its longest weekly losing streak since September

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street’s latest losing week looks to be coming to a relatively quiet close on Friday. U.S. stocks are drifting after oil prices briefly surged overnight on worries about fighting in the Middle East. The S&P 500 was 0.1% higher in early trading and on track for its third straight losing […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Full jury of 12 people and 6 alternates is seated in Trump’s hush money trial in New York

NEW YORK (AP) — A full jury of 12 people and six alternates was seated Friday in Donald Trump’s hush money case, drawing the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president a step closer to opening statements. Lawyers spent days quizzing dozens of New Yorkers to choose the panel that has vowed to put […]

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Russia detains 11 in an attack on Moscow concert hall that killed at least 133