Russia detains 11 suspects after deadly attack on Moscow theatre


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Russian security services have detained 11 people in connection with an attack on a Moscow theatre that killed 93 people.

The FSB security service said on Saturday it was holding 11 people, including four men directly involved in the shooting.

At least four men dressed in camouflage burst into the Crocus City Hall concert venue on the outskirts of Moscow on Friday night, where a band called Picnic was due to perform, according to the Ria state news agency.

The shooting rampage was the largest loss of life in a terrorist attack in Russia in at least a decade and recalled the Islamist insurgencies that marked the first decade of president Vladimir Putin’s rule.

The Isis terror group has claimed responsibility for the assault. US officials said they had no reason to doubt the credibility of the claim.

Russia’s Investigative Committee, a crimes unit, said that the death toll would probably rise.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Putin was informed of the attack “within the first minutes” after it began and was “constantly receiving information about the events and the measures being taken from all the relevant agencies”, according to news agency Interfax. “All the essential instructions have been given by the president.”

News outlets on social media app Telegram posted graphic videos that appeared to show several people being killed while videos from outside the building showed an enormous blaze engulfing the roof, sending smoke billowing out into the night sky.

Officials described the attack as an act of terrorism. Some speculated that Ukraine, which Russia invaded two years ago, was responsible, without providing any evidence. Kyiv immediately denied any involvement.

Sergey Sobyanin, Moscow’s mayor, said the venue had suffered a “horrible tragedy” and cancelled large-scale public events due to take place this weekend in the capital. People were also evacuated on Friday night from big malls in some other Russian cities over fears of similar attacks.

The US embassy in Moscow said it was “shocked” by news of the attack and expressed “sincere condolences to the Russian people”.

This month, the US government had information about a planned terrorist attack in Moscow — potentially targeting large gatherings — which prompted the state department to issue a public advisory to Americans in Russia.

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