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Putin blames ‘radical Islamists’ for killing 139 at a Moscow concert hall

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that the gunmen who killed 139 people at a suburban Moscow concert hall are “radical Islamists.”

But Mr Putin repeated his accusation that Ukraine could have played a role, despite Kiev’s strong denials.

Two days after the Islamic State’s (Isis) Afghanistan affiliate claimed responsibility for Friday night’s attack at the music venue, President Putin acknowledged during a meeting with government officials that the killings were carried out by extremists “whose ideology the Islamic world has been fighting for centuries.”

Mr Putin, who declared over the weekend that the four attackers were arrested while trying to escape to Ukraine, said investigators haven’t determined who ordered the attack, but that it was necessary to find out “why the terrorists after committing their crime tried to flee to Ukraine and who was waiting for them there.”

The Isis affiliate claimed that it carried out the attack and US intelligence said it had information confirming the group was responsible. 

During today’s meeting President Putin said: “We are seeing that the US, through various channels, is trying to convince its satellites and other countries of the world that, according to their intelligence, there is allegedly no Kiev trace in the Moscow terror attack — that the bloody terrorist act was committed by followers of Islam, members of [Isis].” 

He said: “Many questions remain.”

The attack on Friday night at the Crocus City Hall music venue on Moscow’s western outskirts left 139 people dead and more than 180 injured. About 100 people remained hospitalised, officials said.

The four suspected attackers, all Tajikistan nationals, were remanded by a Moscow court on Sunday night for carrying out the attack.

Russian authorities reported that seven other suspects have been detained and three of them were remanded by the court on Monday on charges of being involved in the attack.

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