Multiple victims of Moscow attack including children are in serious condition, Russian officials say

Russian state news agency Tass says 22 victims of the concert hall attack that killed more than 130 people remain in serious condition in the hospital

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 26 March 2024 11:25 GMT

Twenty-two victims of the Russia concert hall attack that killed more than 130 people remain in serious condition in the hospital, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said Tuesday, according to state news agency Tass. Two of them are children, it said.

Russia is still reeling from the attack Friday in which gunmen killed 139 people in a concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the gunmen are “radical Islamists,” but despite all evidence pointing to the involvement of Islamic State, Putin repeated his accusation that Ukraine could have played a role. Kyiv has strongly denied any link to the attack.

Four men accused of carrying out the attack appeared before a Moscow court on Sunday on terrorism charges and showed signs of severe beatings. One appeared to be barely conscious during the hearing.

The men are citizens of Tajikistan, authorities said, and were named by investigators as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, 32; Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, 30; Shamsidin Fariduni, 25; and Mukhammadsobir Faizov, 19. They were charged with committing a terrorist attack resulting in the death of others. The offense carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Russian officials said they detained a total of 11 people over the attack. Another of those detained appeared in court Monday. Alisher Kasimov, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, was charged over renting an apartment to the men accused of carrying out the attack.

A senior Turkish security official confirmed Tuesday that two of the Moscow attackers had spent a “short amount of time” in Turkey before traveling together to Russia on March 2.

One of the attackers, Fariduni, entered Turkey on Feb. 20, checked into a hotel in Istanbul’s Fatih district the next day and checked out on Feb. 27, the official said. The other, Rachabalizoda, checked into a hotel in the same district on Jan. 5, checking out on Jan. 21.

The official said Turkish authorities believe the two suspects “became radicalized in Russia" because they were not in Turkey for long. There was no warrant for their arrest so they were allowed to travel freely between Russia and Turkey, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

The attack Friday night at the Crocus City Hall music venue on Moscow’s western outskirts was one of the deadliest in Russia in years and left more than 180 people injured.

Two days after the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack at the music venue, Putin acknowledged during a meeting with government officials that the killings were carried out by extremists “whose ideology the Islamic world has been fighting for centuries.”

Putin, who declared over the weekend the four attackers were arrested while trying to escape to Ukraine, said investigators haven’t determined who ordered the attack, but said it was necessary to find out “why the terrorists after committing their crime tried to flee to Ukraine and who was waiting for them there.”

The IS affiliate claimed it carried out the attack, and U.S. intelligence said it had information confirming the group was responsible. French President Emmanuel Macron said France has intelligence pointing to “an IS entity” as responsible for the attack.


Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey contributed to this report.

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