Sunday, April 21, 2024

All Four Moscow Attackers Nabbed: Putin Vows Revenge

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MOSCOW – Scenes of incomprehensible horror unfolded at a Moscow concert hall Friday night as four gunmen indiscriminately opened fire on a packed crowd, slaughtering over 130 people in a brutal terrorist attack that has left Russia reeling.

When the smoke finally cleared in the shattered ruins of the Crocus City Hall, the devastating aftermath spoke of unbridled carnage – dozens of mutilated bodies strewn about the blood-spattered venue, countless more innocent victims cry out in agony amid pools of their own blood. Russia’s capital had borne witness to one of the deadliest terrorist atrocities on its soil in recent memory.

All four suspected perpetrators of this breathtakingly evil act have been arrested, authorities said, but the motive behind the inexplicable assault remained shrouded in mystery in the initial hours after the attack. However, suspicions rapidly congealed around the toxic ideology of Islamic extremism once again rearing its repugnant head.

The so-called Islamic State militant group appeared eager to bask in the butchery, claiming credit through its sinister propaganda arms while circulating disturbing video of the attackers reveling in their senseless slaughter. The graphic footage – far too gruesome to republish here – showed the gunmen firing round after round into the helpless crowd at pointblank range, human bodies crumpling lifelessly with sickening regularity.

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Reacting with outrage to the heinous violence that had just transpired, President Vladimir Putin condemned the perpetrators and their “bloody and barbaric act” in uncompromising terms, vowing that Russia’s vengeance would be as implacable as it was merciless.

“We will identify and punish everyone who was behind the terrorist attack, who prepared this strike against Russia and its people,” Putin thundered in a video statement hours later. “No one will be able to sow the poisonous seeds of discord and panic in our multinational society.”

The strongman leader’s bellicose rhetoric underscored just how profoundly the grisly massacre in the northern Moscow suburb of Krasnogorsk had shaken Russia and punctured any illusions that the former Soviet capital remained invulnerable to the cancerous spread of radical terror in the 21st century.

When the blood-dimmed morning light revealed the full extent of the depraved butchery at the popular concert venue, humanity recoiled in collective revulsion. Instead of a lively events space with over 6,000 seats, little more than a mangled, hollowed-out husk remained – charred iron beams, twisted steel frames, and an ungodly tally of the dead and wounded that continued creeping upward.

At last report, the official death toll from the scarcely-fathomable massacre stood at 133 souls lost, including 3 children now cruelly robbed of their tomorrows. The number of injured victims languishing in hospital beds with gunshot wounds and other horrific trauma had risen to 152, Russian emergency officials grimly tabulated, with 8 of those innocent casualties being minors.

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And yet even those gruesome figures could potentially rise further as search-and-rescue teams meticulously combed through every last inch of the decimated Crocus City Hall on Saturday, desperately seeking any potential survivors still trapped beneath the smoldering piles of rubble that had previously been rows of seats for music lovers.

“The clearance of the rubble continues with rescue dogs looking for people under the rubble…the death toll could rise,” warned Al Jazeera correspondent Yulia Shapavalova reporting live from the scene of unspeakable atrocity. “Today, the whole day is to be devoted to search and rescue, after which the main part of the operation will mostly be completed.”

As Russia mourned its dead and tended to its wounded, the same nagging questions inevitably arose about how such an unconscionable act could have transpired without any apparent warning from global intelligencesources — including from the United States.

Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov claimed no “concrete information” about an imminent attack had ever been relayed to Moscow by American officials, potentially straining counterterrorcooperation between the two former Cold War adversaries.

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For its part, the U.S. joined the United Nations, NATO and a chorus of other nations in unequivocally condemning the concert hall massacre and reaffirming their commitment to neutralizing the scourge of terrorism through shared intelligence and joint action.

However, Ambassador Antonov issued a defiant declaration that “armed attacks and the West’s hybrid war” would not force Russia to veer from its geopolitical course of state interests – even after suffering an atrocity of this magnitude on its own capital’s doorstep.

For the owner of the decimated Crocus City Hall itself, grief seemed inextricably fused with grim resilience. The Crocus Group, founded by billionaire developer Aras Agalarov, vowed in a statement to one day see the massive venue restored to its former glory, no matter how catastrophic the current damage appeared.

“We will never forget those who fell victim to terrorists,” the company stated solemnly. “What was destroyed by their dirty hands will be restored.”

In the smoldering aftermath of the deadliest attack on Russian soil in years, a nation was left to mourn its fallen innocent civilians while steeling its resolve once more against the malignant forces of radicalism. But the massacre’s grim toll served as a sobering reminder that no city is truly immune to terror’s indiscriminate wrath in the 21st century world.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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