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Death toll rises to over 60 in Moscow terror attack

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Moscow, March 23: More than 60 people were killed in Friday’s terrorist attack in Moscow’s Crocus City Hall, according to the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR) as quoted by media reports.

“It has been initially confirmed that more than 60 people died as a result of the terrorist attack. Unfortunately, the number of victims may increase,” said the ICR on Saturday, RT reported.

Earlier, according to initial reports, it was reported that atleast 40 people were shot dead and over 100 injured as three to five unidentified gunmen, clad in body armour and armed with assault rifles, began shooting indiscriminately in a Moscow mall on Friday and set a concert hall there afire.

The toll in the Krokus City Mall massacre was a preliminary assessment by the domestic security agency, the FSB.

The mall, which falls in the Moscow region just outside the city’s boundary, was attacked around 8 p.m. (local time) just as a concert of famous rock band Piknik was about to begin at its music venue, causing chaos, RT reported.

The assailants targeted fleeing concertgoers and videos of the scene showed bodies lying strewn about. They also reportedly lobbed hand grenades and used incendiaries to set the building on fire.

The tally is expected to grow given the scale of the attack and the massive fire, which has caused the roof of the building to reportedly collapse, as per local media.

Authorities launched a massive emergency response, with numerous ambulances as well as heavily armed police special operation units deployed at the location. A helicopter was also deployed to help in dousing the raging fire.

As per the latest information, the attackers, who had not attempted to take hostages or make any statements but shot people indiscriminately, have barricaded themselves inside the burning building.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “The Russian Foreign Ministry is receiving phone calls with condolences from ordinary citizens from all around the globe following the horrible tragedy at the Krokus City Hall venue in Moscow. They are expressing the strongest condemnation of this bloody terrorist attack, transpiring right before the eyes of the entire world.”

“As the Russian authorities have already stated, all efforts at the current moment are devoted to saving the people (at the site).”

“The international community is obliged to condemn this horrendous crime!” the spokeswoman said.

The US has condemned the attack, describing it as a “terrible incident”.

“The images are just horrible and just hard to watch,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

IANS

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