Gunmen kill at least 40 in attack at concert hall near Moscow

Smoke from fire rises above the burning Crocus City Hall concert venue following a shooting incident, outside Moscow, Russia, March 22, 2024.
Smoke from fire rises above the burning Crocus City Hall concert venue following a shooting incident, outside Moscow, Russia, March 22, 2024.
Image: Maxim Shemetov

At least 40 people were killed and more than 100 injured when five gunmen dressed in camouflage opened fire with automatic weapons at people at a concert in the Crocus City Hall near Moscow, in one of the worst such attacks on Russia in years.

Flames leapt into the sky and plumes of black smoke rose above the venue, Reuters pictures and video showed.

Russian media reported a second blast at the venue and there were reports that some of the gunmen had barricaded themselves somewhere in the building.

The shooting appeared to have begun at a concert of the band “Picnic”.

“Suddenly there were bangs behind us — shots. A burst of firing — I do not know what,” one witness who asked not to be named told Reuters.

“A stampede began, everyone ran to the escalator,” the witness said. “Everyone was screaming, everyone was running.”

The shooting began days after President Vladimir Putin was re-elected for a new six-year term and as Russia is prosecuting a war with Ukraine.

State news agency TASS cited Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) as saying 40 people had been killed and more than 100 wounded.

The FSB said all necessary measures were being taken.

It was not immediately clear who the gunmen were. Russian news agencies said 70 ambulance crews had been sent to the scene.

“A terrible tragedy occurred in the shopping centre Crocus City today,” Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin said. “I am sorry for the loved ones of the victims.”

Russia tightened security at airports and stations and across the capital — a vast urban area of more than 21 million people. Putin has yet to comment in public.

Russia's foreign ministry said it was a “bloody terrorist attack”.

“The entire world community is obliged to condemn this monstrous crime,” foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said. “All efforts are being thrown at saving people.”


In one unverified video posted on social media, men with automatic weapons were shown firing repeatedly at screaming civilians, including women, who were cowering below what looked like an entrance sign to “Crocus City Hall”.

Other video footage showed a number of people lying motionless in pools of blood outside the hall. Reuters was unable to immediately verify the footage.

Another video showed the attackers shooting at people in the concert hall.

The White House said on Friday that images of the shooting in the Russian capital were hard to watch.

“The images are just horrible and just hard to watch and our thoughts obviously are going to be with the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack,” White House spokesperson John Kirby said.

The US embassy in Russia warned earlier this month that “extremists” had imminent plans for an attack in Moscow.

It issued its warning several hours after the FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, said it had foiled an attack on a synagogue in Moscow by a cell of the militant Sunni Muslim group Islamic State.



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