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10 Apr, 2024 13:54

Manhunt underway near Moscow to capture Crocus City Hall attack suspect

An accomplice of the alleged terrorists is reportedly hiding out near the capital, Russian media have said
Manhunt underway near Moscow to capture Crocus City Hall attack suspect

Police and security forces in the south of Moscow Region have been put on high alert over an alleged Crocus City Hall terrorist attack suspect, who has reportedly been hiding in the area. The man is said to have fled law enforcement officers and hid in the woods, Russian Telegram channels have reported.

The operation has been confirmed by the mayor of the Moscow suburb of Chekhov, Mikhail Sobakin. Police officers and Russia’s domestic security service (FSB) operatives had been sent to the area, he said in a Telegram post, commenting on the media reports. The official also called on local residents to “remain calm” and said that he was personally monitoring the situation. “The Interior Ministry and the FSB… are working,” he said.

According to the mayor, the ‘Sirena’ operation plan to stop riots, detain criminal gangs, and deal with particularly dangerous armed individuals, has been put into effect, RBK news reported.

Russia’s ‘Baza’ and 112 Telegram channels also added, citing law enforcement sources, that a certain suspect had managed to evade detention. Identified only as Nikolay S, 48, the man is said to be potentially armed. The two Telegram channels also claimed that the suspect might be linked to the Crocus City Hall attack suspects. Russian officials have not commented on the claims.

The attack, which took place in late March, involved four gunmen, who stormed the concert venue just outside of Moscow ahead of a rock band performance. They made their way to the main auditorium, shooting indiscriminately, and then set the building on fire. Over 140 people were killed.

The four shooters, as well as seven alleged accomplices, were arrested in the wake of the assault. ISIS-K, the Afghanistan-based offshoot of the international terrorist organization Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the massacre. 

Russian officials have said that the terrorist act was carried out by radical Islamists, but still maintained that the Ukrainian government could be behind the operation. Kiev has denied all allegations.