Moscow attack: At least 60 killed and dozens injured as gunmen storm concert hall

Islamic State claims responsibility for the attack as US and Kyiv say Ukraine not linked to assault

Two people suspected of carrying out a deadly attack near Moscow have been detained after a car chase but others are still at large, a Russian lawmaker said on Saturday.

Camouflage-clad gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons at concertgoers near the capital on Friday, killing at least 60 people and injuring 145 in an attack claimed by Islamic State militants.

Lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein cited “preliminary information” saying the attackers were in a Renault vehicle that was spotted by police in Bryansk region, about 340 km (210 miles) southwest of Moscow on Friday night, but disobeyed instructions to stop.

“During the pursuit, shots were fired and the car overturned. One terrorist was detained on the spot, the rest fled into the forest. As a result of the search, a second suspect was found and detained at approximately 3:50 a.m. The search for the others continues,” the lawmaker said.


It was not clear how many people had escaped the scene.

Khinshtein said a pistol, a magazine for an assault rifle and passports from Tajikistan were found in the car.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest in Russia since the Beslan school siege in 2004. (Reporting by Alexander Marrow; writing by Mark Trevelyan; editing by Mark Potter)


At least 93 people were killed in an attack on Friday near Moscow, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Saturday, citing preliminary data, and warned that the number of victims was expected to rise further.

Camouflage-clad gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons at concertgoers near Moscow on Friday in an attack claimed by Islamic State militants


Russia said at least 93 people were killed and about 145 injured when gunmen entered a concert hall in a Moscow suburb on Friday, shooting at terrified concertgoers who rushed in panic for the exits as bullets and then flames tore through the building.

In the deadliest attack in Russia since the 2004 Beslan school siege, gunmen sprayed civilians with bullets just before Soviet-era rock group Picnic was to perform to a full house at the 6,200-seat the Crocus City Hall just west of the capital.

The attack took place just days after a tightly controlled election handed another six-year term to Russian president Vladimir Putin, whose 24-year rule is founded on a vow to ensure security and stability in the country, even at the expense of human rights.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The statement posted on its Telegram account read: “State fighters attacked a large gathering of Christians in the city of Krasnogorsk on the outskirts of the Russian capital, Moscow, killing and wounding hundreds and causing great destruction to the place before they withdrew to their bases safely.”

Kyiv and Washington were quick to dismiss any suggestion that Ukraine could be involved in the atrocity, which came 15 days after the US embassy in Moscow warned US citizens in the city to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours due to “reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings … to include concerts.”

Videos from the scene showed at least five gunmen in fatigues walking through the Crocus City Hall complex shooting unarmed people from close range with automatic rifles. Footage from inside the concert hall itself showed people fleeing their seats amid the sound of gunfire as smoke started to drift into the auditorium.

“At first we didn’t understand what was happening. Then I saw the terrorists come in and start shooting everyone, then they threw petrol bombs and everything caught fire,” one unnamed concertgoer told Russian media outside the hall.

Several police and special forces units made their way into the concert hall, as fire-fighting helicopters swooped overhead and tried to douse the blaze amid reports that part of the roof of the complex had collapsed.

Police set up roadblocks around the area and passing cars were being checked, but it was not immediately clear if any of the gunmen had been detained inside the concert hall or elsewhere. Russian media said suspects were still at large.

“Today a terrible tragedy occurred in Crocus City… I have decided to cancel all sports, cultural and other public events in Moscow this weekend,” said the city’s mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

Russian investigators said the death toll was more than 60. Health officials said about 145 people were wounded, of which about 60 were in critical condition. Three children were among those killed, the RIA news agency cited the regional healthcare ministry as saying on Saturday.

In the 2004 Beslan school siege, Islamist militants took more than 1,000 people, including hundreds of children, hostage.

The attack stirred memories of the Nord Ost attack in Moscow in 2002, when gunmen from the North Caucasus region of Russia took hostages at a theatre in the city, and more than 100 people were killed in the attack and subsequent storming of the venue by special forces.

Russia has now largely quelled pro-independence and Islamist groups in North Caucasus republics such as Chechnya and Dagestan, but gunmen from the region still occasionally clash with security forces.

“Ukraine certainly has nothing to do with the shooting/explosions in the Crocus City Hall… It makes no sense whatsoever,” Mykhailo Podolyak, an aide to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, wrote on social media.

In Washington, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said: “There is no indication at this time that Ukraine, or Ukrainians, were involved in the shooting… The images are just horrible and hard to watch, and our thoughts obviously are going to be with the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack.”

The embassy of Russia in Ireland said on social media it was “shocked by the horrendous terrorist act” in Moscow.

“We mourn the lives lost, pray for those who suffered in the attack and hope that perpetrators of this barbarity are brought to justice,” it said.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said he was “shocked by the horrific scenes” in Moscow.

“Targeting civilians can never be justified in any circumstances. I extend my condolences to all those who have lost loved ones,” Mr Martin said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres condemned the attack “in the strongest possible terms”.

“The secretary-general conveys his deep condolences to the bereaved families and the people and the government of the Russian Federation. He wishes those injured a speedy recovery,” deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said in a statement. – Additional reporting: Reuters

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin

Daniel McLaughlin is a contributor to The Irish Times from central and eastern Europe