ISIS claims responsibility in deadly attack on Russia's Crocus City Hall

Gunmen opened fire on concertgoers in the attack, Russian media reported.

March 22, 2024, 9:14 PM

ISIS claimed responsibility for a deadly attack at Moscow's Crocus City Hall where at least 60 people were killed and over 145 others were wounded Friday evening, according to Russian officials.

Gunmen opened fire at the hall, which is one of the biggest shopping and entertainment complexes in Russia, and a large fire began after the shooting which rapidly engulfed the complex, according to the Russian Foreign Security Service.

ISIS released a statement later in the evening claiming their fighters "attacked" a "big gathering for Christians in the Russian Moscow suburb," in the statement, injuring "hundreds" and causing "major destruction."

Russia's foreign ministry called the incident a "terrorist attack." It's the largest terror attack in Central Russia in terms of the number of victims since the Domodedovo airport bombing in January 2011 that killed 37 people and injured 172 others.

The attack began at around 8 p.m. local time when a group of at least 5 gunmen stormed the complex during a concert by the band Picnic and opened fire with automatic weapons, state news outlet RIA Novosti reported.

More than 70 ambulance teams were sent to the sight of the attack, according to Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyov. Two firefighting helicopters are also on the scene trying to put out the fire, which spread over a large area, Vorobyov said.

Of those injured, at least 115 people were hospitalized, including five children, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said in a statement. One child and 60 adults are listed in serious condition, the health minister said.

Rescuers work to extinguish fire at the burning Crocus City Hall concert venue following a shooting incident, outside Moscow, Russia, Mar. 22, 2024.
Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

Most of the building is engulfed in fire and the roof partially collapsed, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

The cause of the fire is unknown but unconfirmed reports said there was an explosion inside the concert hall.

A U.S. official told ABC News the U.S shared intelligence with Russia about the risk of an imminent threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS), and that the threat was related to the security alert released by the U.S. embassy in Moscow two weeks ago.

Another U.S. official told ABC News the administration sees no reason to doubt the ISIS claim of responsibility for the attack.

Smoke rises above the Crocus City Hall concert venue following a reported shooting incident, on the outskirts of Moscow, March 22, 2024.

In Podolsk, near Moscow, public events were canceled due to the incident at Crocus City Hall, the head of the district said. The mayor of Moscow also canceled all "sports, cultural and other mass events," in Moscow for the weekend.

The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed of the attack when the shooting started and he has been receiving constant updates.

Vehicles of Russian emergency services are parked near the burning Crocus City Hall concert venue following a reported shooting incident, outside Moscow, March 22, 2024.
Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

An advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied any Ukrainian involvement in the attack in a post on X. Two pro-Ukrainian Russian military groups that recently launched a cross-border incursion into Russia have also both denied any involvement in the attack.

The White House is aware of the incident in Moscow, but has limited information as of now, according to National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby.

"The images are just horrible. And just hard to watch, and our thoughts, obviously, are going to be with the -- the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack," Kirby said.

Kirby also reiterated the State Department's warning that all Americans in Moscow should avoid large gatherings, saying, "They should stay put where they are, and stay plugged into the State Department for any additional updates and information."

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow said on Telegram Friday it is "horrified by reports of the terrorist attack at the Crocus City Hall venue in Moscow."

The statement continues: "We offer our sincere condolences to the Russian people for the lives lost and to those injured in tonight's attack."

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a warning on March 7, advising U.S. citizens to avoid large gatherings for 48 hours, saying extremists have "imminent plans" to target large-scale gatherings in Moscow.

ABC News' Shannon Crawford contributed to this report.

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