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Crocus death toll rises to 115 – investigators

Russian officials say the number of casualties is likely to rise further

Russia’s Investigative Committee has claimed that the number of deaths following Friday evening’s massacre at the Crocus City concert hall near Moscow has been confirmed at 115 people and warned that this figure is likely to rise.

The service had previously stated that the death toll was 93, but later issued an update announcing that additional bodies were found after emergency services started clearing the rubble.

“According to preliminary data, the causes of death were gunshot wounds and poisoning by combustion products (smoke inhalation),” investigators said, adding that they are continuing to establish all the details of the attack by analyzing evidence at the scene, going through CCTV footage and taking statements from the victims.

The Moscow Region Health Ministry had also previously reported that there were at least three children among the deceased.

The tragic events unfolded on Friday evening at Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, on the western outskirts of the Russian capital. The concert venue, with an estimated capacity of 7,500, was almost full when the terrorists struck. The assault took place ahead of a performance by the Russian rock band Picnic.

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Frame of a video purportedly showing the first minutes after the Crocus City hall terrorist attack.
WATCH first minutes after terrorist attack in Russia

Judging by mobile phone footage and eyewitness accounts, at least five gunmen wearing military-style gear and carrying assault rifles first opened fire at unarmed security guards at the main entrance to the venue. They then proceeded to shoot indiscriminately at the fleeing crowd of panicked visitors.

Once the terrorists reached the concert hall, they appeared to set fire to rows of chairs inside, with the blaze quickly engulfing much of the building, including its roof.

Investigators have stated that preliminary findings based on evidence at the scene appear to confirm that the terrorists used automatic weapons during the attack, and used some sort of flammable liquid to set fire to the premises.

The Investigative Committee said it is now carrying out ballistic, genetic and fingerprint analysis based on the material evidence found at the scene.

Meanwhile, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) Aleksandr Bortnikov has informed President Vladimir Putin that eleven suspects, including four terrorists who were directly involved in the Crocus attack, have been detained, the Kremlin press service has said.

March 23, 2024 at 02:55PM

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