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Russia: Death toll mounts to 115 in Crocus City attack

Moscow [Russia]: Following the deadly firing at the Crocus City concert hall near Moscow, Russia's Investigative Committee has claimed that the death toll has been confirmed at 115 people and warned that this figure is likely to rise, Russian state news agency, RT News reported on Saturday.

"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 analysing evidence at the scene, going through CCTV footage and taking statements from the victims.

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.

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

Meanwhile, the Russian intelligence agencies detained 11 people, including four 'terrorists', who they claimed were 'directly' involved in a terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall, TASS reported citing Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) statement on Saturday.

"The activities of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have resulted in the detention of 11 people, including four terrorists, who directly participated in the terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall," the statement read.

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, RT news agency reported.

According to the 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.

The ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack at the concert venue complex near Moscow on Friday night after assailants stormed the venue with guns and incendiary devices, CNN reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday condemned the 'heinous act' and expressed solidarity with the Russian government and its people.

"We strongly condemn the heinous terrorist attack in Moscow. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. India stands in solidarity with the government and the people of the Russian Federation in this hour of grief," PM Modi posted from his X handle.

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