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Nine detained in Tajikistan over suspected links with Moscow attackers

Meanwhile, Russia launches large-scale attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure

NINE people have been detained in Tajikistan over suspected contact with the perpetrators of last week’s terrorist attack on a Moscow concert hall that killed 144 people, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said today.

“Nine residents of the Vakhdat district were detained for contact with the persons who committed the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall on March 22,” the agency reported, citing information from an unnamed source in Tajikistan’s special services, who said that Russian security forces were also involved in the operation to detain the suspects.

Those detained are also suspected of having connections with the Islamic State group, according to RIA Novosti.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Thursday it had detained another suspect in relation to the raid on Crocus City Hall, on suspicion of being involved in financing the attack. It did not give further details of the suspect’s identity or alleged actions.

Russian officials previously said that 11 suspects had been arrested, including four who allegedly carried out the attack. Those four, identified as Tajik nationals, appeared in a Moscow court on Sunday on terrorism charges and showed signs of severe beatings. One appeared to be barely conscious during the hearing.

A faction of the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the massacre. But Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have persistently claimed, without presenting evidence, that Ukraine and the West had a role in the attack.

The death toll from the raid continues to rise, with the number of deaths increasing to 144 today when a severely injured victim died in a hospital, according to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko.

Meanwhile, Russia launched a large-scale attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure today, with a mass barrage of 99 drones and missiles hitting 10 regions, Ukraine’s armed forces said.

Air raid warnings rang out across the country, with 10 Ukrainian regions coming under fire, the Interior Minister, Ihor Klymenko, said.

Ukraine’s state-owned grid operator, Ukrenergo, said that today’s attack targeted thermal and hydroelectric power plants across central and western regions.

Elsewhere, five people, including a five-year-old girl, were wounded during the attack in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, said local governor Serhii Lysak.

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