Reports: Ongoing Terrorist Shootout at Moscow Concert Hall Leaves at Least 100 Casualties

Emergency services vehicles are seen outside the burning Crocus City Hall concert hall fol
STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images

A terrorist attack on the Crocus City concert hall and mall in Moscow, Russia, on Friday night that has reportedly not concluded at press time has left “over 100 casualties,” the Russian outlet RT reported.

Update 4:08PM ET: The Russian FSB security service announced it had documented at least 40 killed and over 100 injured in the attack.

Multiple reports in Russian media have reported the presence of at least three gunmen participating in the attack. The terrorists, reportedly dressed in camouflage, stormed the venue and opened fire at the audience inside the concert hall with what some reports indicate were automatic weapons. The terrorists also reportedly detonated a grenade, setting the Crocus City complex on fire.

The fire is so large that the Russian government has deployed a water-discharging helicopter to end it and has prepared two more to fly in, according to RIA Novosti.

Videos on social media shared by Russian news outlets – such as RT, Ria Novosti, Sputnik, and others – show panicked concertgoers attempting to hide under seats and the sound of gunfire. Reports indicated that one of the assailants detonated a grenade, causing the ongoing fire.

“People in the hall laid down on the ground to avoid the fire, laying there for about 15-20 minutes, after which they began to crawl out. Many managed to get out,” the Russian outlet Sputnik reported. Sputnik said that at least 100 people had been evacuated, but quoted the Russian Health Ministry saying that it was responding to the incident with over 70 ambulances, suggesting a prodigious casualty count.

As of press time, the latest updates from RT indicated that the terrorists “have reportedly barricaded themselves inside of the burning building. The group has apparently not attempted to take hostages or make any statements, shooting people on sight instead.” The attackers are at large in the complex at press time.

Update 4:09 PM ET: RT is reporting that one suspect has been detained alive.

Crocus City was hosting a concert by the progressive rock band Piknik on Friday. Piknik was banned from Ukraine after performing a concert in occupied Crimea, Ukraine, prompting Ukraine to ban them from the country. The band declared they “do not give a damn” about sanctions or politics in response to Ukraine’s condemnation, recalling that the Soviet Union had also blacklisted them.

The band had not started playing when the terrorists struck and are all safe, multiple outlets reported.

Russian authorities have not given any public statements blaming any individuals or groups for the incident. Some reports indicated that, less than a week ago, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow warned that it had information suggesting terrorists would target concert venues in the near future. It is not clear at press time whether that warning was prompted by threats to Crocus City or similar venues.

RIA Novosti also reported shortly before the terrorist attack occurred that Russian law enforcement authorities had arrested seven men accused of attempting to create an armed cell, allegedly to fight against the Russian military in Ukraine. No reports at that news agency or anywhere else at press time have linked the bust to the Crocus City attack.

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