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At least 133 killed, over 100 wounded in Moscow concert hall attack

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Russian authorities apprehended four individuals suspected of carrying out the attack on a suburban Moscow concert hall, which killed at least 133 people, President Vladimir Putin announced Saturday at a national speech. He said that they were apprehended while fleeing to Ukraine.

Kyiv firmly denied involvement in Friday’s attack on Krasnogorsk’s Crocus City Hall music venue, which was claimed by the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate.

Putin made no mention of IS in his speech, and Kyiv accused him and other Russian officials of wrongly associating Ukraine to the assault in order to ratchet up tensions in Russia’s war in Ukraine, which is now in its third year.

A US intelligence official told The Associated Press that US agencies had established IS was responsible for the assault and had previously warned Moscow that an attack was planned.

Putin said officials have detained 11 people in connection with the incident, which injured hundreds of concertgoers and left the arena in smoking ruins. He described it as “a bloody, barbaric terrorist act” and claimed Russian authorities apprehended the four alleged gunmen as they attempted to flee to Ukraine via a “window” established for them on the Ukrainian side of the border.

Putin also announced that additional security measures had been implemented across Russia, and he designated Sunday a day of mourning.

The attack, the bloodiest in Russia in years, is a big humiliation to the Russian leader, who only days before consolidated his grip on the country for another six years in a referendum that followed the heaviest crackdown on opposition since the Soviet era.

Some Russian social media users questioned how authorities, who have persistently crushed opposition activity and muzzled independent media, failed to prevent the attack despite US warnings.

Head of content and Editor-at-large at – Dickson Ofori Siaw is a blunt writer who loves to make his readers see "the other perspectives of a news story". Follow me on Twitter @kwadwo_dost