Blinken condemns ‘heinous’ Moscow attack


Russian authorities said at least 145 people had been injured, with 16 people in a “critical state”…reports Asian Lite News

The US secretary of state Antony Blinken condemned Friday’s terrorist attack in Moscow in a statement Saturday afternoon, calling the shooting a “heinous crime”.

“We condemn terrorism in all of its forms and stand in solidarity with the people of Russia in grieving the loss of life from this horrific event,” Blinken said in the statement. “We send our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and all affected by this heinous crime.”

The statement comes after the death toll from the attack rose to 133 on Saturday morning. Vladimir Putin announced Russia had arrested 11 people in connection with the attack, including the four gunmen they believe are responsible for the shooting. All four were foreign citizens, according to Russia’s interior ministry.

Russian authorities said at least 145 people had been injured, with 16 people in a “critical state”.

“The number of victims of the terrorist attack will grow significantly,” said Andrei Vorobyov, the governor of the Moscow region.

Blinken is the latest head of foreign affairs to condemn the attack. The British foreign secretary, David Cameron, said in a statement that the UK “condemns the deadly attack in the strongest possible terms”.

US officials late Friday confirmed Washington had had intelligence that an attack would be carried out, advising Americans in Russia to avoid large gatherings before the shooting took place on Friday.

“Earlier this month, the US government had information about a planned terrorist attack in Moscow – potentially targeting large gatherings, to include concerts – which prompted the state department to issue a public advisory to Americans in Russia,” Adrienne Watson, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said in a statement. Watson said the US government shared the information with Russian authorities per the US’s “duty to warn” policy.

In a statement made through an affiliated news agency, the Islamic State claimed responsibility and said that the attack had been carried out due to the “raging war” between ISIS and countries fighting Islam.

In an address to the nation on Saturday, Putin did not mention the Islamic State by name but said that the gunmen had been captured as they fled to Ukraine. Putin suggested, without evidence, that Kyiv may have been involved in the attack, saying that the country “prepared a window” for the gunmen to cross the border after they carried out the attack.

In a statement, Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs said it “categorically reject[s] the accusations” that the country was involved in the shooting.

The shooting took place at Crocus City Hall, a concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow, minutes before a Russian rock band had been scheduled to play to a sold-out audience. It is one of the worst terrorist attacks in the country’s history.

Attackers also set the concert hall on fire, causing some in attendance to die of smoke inhalation.


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