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24 Mar, 2024 16:20

Hero teen helped over 100 to safety during Moscow terrorist attack

Islam Khalilov, who worked part-time at the Crocus City Hall, led panicked concertgoers to safety amid Friday’s shooting spree
Hero teen helped over 100 to safety during Moscow terrorist attack

A teenager who led over 100 people to safety during Friday’s terrorist attack at a Moscow concert hall, has been hailed as a hero. 15-year-old Islam Khalilov, who worked part-time in one of the cloakrooms at Crocus City, recounted the events of the tragic evening to the Ruptly video agency.

The concert venue situated just outside of Moscow was packed ahead of a performance by the Russian rock band Picnic, when a group of terrorists armed with assault rifles forced their way into the building. They fired indiscriminately at fleeing people and then set the concert hall on fire.

According to the latest estimates, the attack has claimed the lives of at least 137 people, with about 180 injured.

Khalilov told the video agency that “it was when people started running from the escalator, from the stairway” that he realized that an emergency was occurring. The teenager said that he was acting on “instincts” at the time and used his thorough knowledge of the premises to quickly arrange visitors’ evacuation toward another building within the Crocus City complex.

“I started shouting all across the foyer, all across Crocus City Hall - ‘Folks, there’s a shooting! All run to the expo!’ – and I was showing where they had to go and was helping everyone,” he explained.

According to the cloakroom attendant, “there was a stampede, and everyone was in shock at first. No one knew what to do and where to go.”

Khalilov added that he himself was running behind the entire group to make sure he had not left anyone behind.

The teenager admitted to being “really scared” all along, but still managed to make the right use the instructions he’d previously been given on how to evacuate patrons in case of an emergency.

He told Ruptly that, at one point, he had caught a glimpse of one of the terrorists.

“I saw one, [he was] bearded and in green fatigues, he was walking around with an assault rifle,” the teenager recounted.

He also recalled seeing a man getting fatally shot by one of the assailants, adding that he “can’t stop thinking about it.”

The 15-year-old said he doesn’t consider himself a hero, and that he was just doing his job.

Explaining what helped him overcome fear, Khalilov reasoned that “It’s better to sacrifice yourself than to let a hundred people die.”

After Khalilov’s feat had been reported-on by several Russian media outlets, his favorite football club, FC Spartak Moscow, invited him to a meeting where he was presented with free passes to their matches.

Popular Russian rap artist Morgenstern said he had transferred 1,000,000 rubles ($11,000) to the teenager – something that Khalilov has confirmed to media.

The leader of Russia's Muslims, Mufti Ravil Guynutdin, has announced that Khalilov would receive a medal for his bravery.