2024Russia-UkraineEastern EuropeMiddle East

Terrorism in Moscow

Dana Gaudioso
Staff Writer 

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On March 22, the terrorist organization Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) attacked a Moscow concert hall, killing more than 144 people. This attack as caused tension to rise once again in Western society, amplifying United States and European fear that ISIS-K has set their sights on the West. 

This was the deadliest terrorist attack on Russian soil in over twenty years. During a performance at Crocus City Hall by a popular Soviet-era rock band named Picnic, terrorists stormed the venue firing at civilians in the audience. According to CNN these terrorists then set fire to the building, causing the roof to collapse trapping many concert goers under layers of debris and rubble. Many of the people who died in the attack were killed from smoke inhalation caused by the fire and collapsing building. CNN gained access to a video showing the attack. The video depicts one of the attackers slitting the throat of a man, ending with the four gunmen walking away from the burning building. The terrorist organization ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the attack while the concert hall was still burning.

The ISIS-K terrorist group originated only 9 years ago when they carved out an autonomous province of the Islamic State. Despite powerful enemies like the U.S. and the Taliban working to take down their organization, but not together, ISIS-K has proven to be a quite resourceful and flexible group. NBC News shares that the UN estimates that ISIS-K has approximately between 4,000 to 6,000 thousand fighters, with numbers seeming to rise as the years go by. ISIS-K has launched terrorist attacks in Iran, Pakistan, and many nations in central Asia. Until the March 22 attack, ISIS-K’s most infamous act until now occurred two years ago at the Kabul International Airport where a suicide bomber caused the death of nearly 200 people. According to CNN, “ISIS-K has ambitions far beyond south Asia, aiming to target Russia, Western Europe and even the United States”. This has caused Western leaders to fear that ISIS-K might start targeting their own countries. France is especially worried that the ISIS-K might be planning a terrorist attack for the Paris Summer Olympics taking place in 2024. 

The ISIS-K terrorist group has expressed contempt against Western civilization but its hatred for Russian and its Eastern Crusader can be traced back to Russia’s involvement and support of Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria during the Syrian civil war, harming ISIS, explains CNN. ISIS-K also criticizes Russia’s support for authoritarian governments in Central Asia, seeing these governments as puppet states for Russia. These factors are what caused ISIS-K to view Russia as a target for its brutal terrorist attack.  

Before the terrorist attack occurred in Moscow other nations wared Russia of the threat of a possible attack on its soils. Both Iran and the United States informed Russia through intelligence which stated that there was a potential terrorist attack in the works targeting Russia, but these claims seem to have been ignored by the Russian government.  After waiting a day to address his people following the attack, Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first national address discussing the incident. According to Reuters in his address Putin claimed that he “…believes Ukraine was linked to the attack…” and was truly the main culprit behind the attack despite ISIS-K’s claiming responsibility. Ukraine has declined the accusations that they were the ones behind the attack. 

Image courtesy of Getty Images

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