Russia charges 4 men over Moscow concert hall terrorist attack

Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, a suspect in the Crocus City Hall shooting on Friday, sits in a glass cage in the Basmanny District Court in Moscow, Russia on March 24, 2024. © Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP

By Darryl Coote UPI

Russia has charged four men on accusations of killing more than 130 people Friday in a coordinated attack on a Moscow concert hall.

The men were each brought before the Moscow Basmanny District Court on Sunday and charged with committing a terrorist act. The court identified the suspects on its official Telegram account as Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, Saidakrami Rachabalizodu, Shamsidin Fariduni and Muhammadsobir Fayzov.

Video of the men published by the court shows that three of them were brought into the courtroom by masked law enforcement officers. The suspects’ hands were cuffed behind their backs and they all exhibited facial and other injuries, including swollen and black eyes.

Fayzov was seen being wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher.

The court said it ordered the four men to be held in pre-trial detention until May 22.

They have been charged as being part of a group that killed at least 137 people, including three children, and injured another 180 in a terrorist attack targeting the Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk.

Officials said gunman had stormed the building with automatic weapons, shooting people at point-blank range while throwing incendiary explosives that detonated and ignited a fire in the concert hall.

The Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement it recovered four set sets of combat gear, more than 500 cartridges of ammunition and 28 magazines as well as two Kalashnikov assault rifles from the scene.

At least 62 bodies have been identified and genetic testing is ongoing to establish the identities of the other deceased victims, it said.

According to the committee, one of the gunman was detained by a man at the scene.

It said the man, attempting to protect his wife, lunged at one of the gunman.

“With his active and decisive actions, he saved the lives of those around him at that moment,” it said in a separate statement.

Islamic State Khorasan has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence states ISIS-K is one of ISIS’ most lethal branches and has conducted attacks in Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, but seeks to expand its influence. It was designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization in January 2016.

The charges were laid a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin told the nation in an address that a total 11 people had been detained in connection to the attack, including “all four perpetrators who were directly involved in the terrorist attack.”

Despite the ISIS affiliate taking responsibility for the attack, Russia has attempted to connect Ukraine and the United States to it.

Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs issued a statement “categorically” rejecting the accusations.

“We consider such accusations to be a planned provocation by the Kremlin to further fuel anti-Ukrainian hysteria in Russian society, create conditions for increased mobilization of Russian citizens to participate in the criminal aggression against our country and discredit Ukraine in the eyes of the international community,” the ministry said.

White House National Security Council spokeswoman said on X that the U.S. government earlier this month shared information with Russian authorities about a planned terrorist attack in Moscow that had knowledge of.

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