Some Initial Thoughts and Impressions – RedState

Some Initial Thoughts and Impressions – RedState

On Friday evening, Moscow time, several gunmen entered the Crocus City Hall concert venue in Moscow and started shooting. As of this writing, estimates of casualties are 40 dead, and perhaps 100 wounded. Here at RedState, Susie Moore covered the initial reports early Friday afternoon, Eastern Daylight time.

Previously on RedState: (UPDATED): Terror Attack in Moscow Concert Hall – Multiple Fatalities Reported

NEW: ISIS Claims Responsibility for Moscow Attack in Surprise Twist, Skepticism Follows

As more information is slowly becoming available, I can offer a few preliminary thoughts and impressions about this attack. The primary impression is this: This was not the act of a single, disturbed individual acting on impulse. This was a well-planned, well-thought-out operation by at least three attackers who appear to have been well-trained and well-armed. Here’s why I arrived at these conclusions.

First: The shooters, judging from stills and videos that have been released so far, appear to be carrying AK-pattern rifles with what look to be standard 30-round magazines. In the videos, bursts of full-auto fire can be heard.

Possession of firearms in Russia is tightly controlled, magazines holding over 10 rounds are not generally available, and fully-automatic weapons are prohibited, leaving one to believe that the shooters were equipped by an organized body; if not a nation-state, then at least an organized terror group.

Second: There would appear to have been explosives or some kind of incendiary devices employed. While no statement has yet been made to that effect, the live feed from Moscow has shown the building partially engulfed in flames. At least one reporter claimed to have seen the attackers throwing incendiary devices. While such devices can be improvised, successful use of them is trickier than one might think; a premature detonation could have a serious adverse effect on the user.

Russian news agency RIA Novosti said on Telegram that one of its reporters was inside the venue when gunmen entered and began shooting concertgoers.

The journalist said that at least three unmasked gunmen in camouflage entered the hall a few minutes before 8 p.m. Moscow time. They shot people point-blank and threw incendiary bombs, according to the journalist. 


Third: There are unconfirmed reports that some of the venue’s emergency exits were blocked in advance of the attack. While this is not yet out of the rumor stage, if so, it speaks to the extent to which this attack was planned.

Fourth: While this event appears to have been planned and equipped by a nation-state or organized terror group, until moments ago it was unknown who may have done so. The Ukrainian government has denied any involvement

Now the Islamic State has claimed credit for the attack, although as of this writing, that claim has not been confirmed. There is no indication that Chechnyan separatists are involved, although such individuals have been responsible for terror attacks in Russia before.

Fifth: At the moment, it appears that the attackers have made their escape. Ex-president Dmitry Medvedev has called for the attackers to be killed.

Ex-president and senior Russian security official Dmitry Medvedev has called for the gunmen to be killed.

Mr Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the Security Council, said: “All of them must be found and ruthlessly destroyed as terrorists. Death for death.” 

Public events across the Moscow metropolitan area have been canceled.

In summary, this bears all the hallmarks of a well-planned and rehearsed attack by a small group, which was trained and equipped for this specific venue and evidently had its escape planned, as well. This also shows that not only was the venue scouted in advance, not only was the infiltration of the area planned, but also the exfiltration. If these attackers did make their escape, then there is at least one small group of trained terrorists at large in the Moscow area, equipped with automatic weapons and explosives, and who are trained in their use. If that is the case, they likely have plans for more such attacks.

This is a developing story. RedState will continue to monitor this event and will update you as events warrant.

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