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There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the raid, the worst terror attack in Russia in two decades that came as the fighting in Ukraine dragged into a third year. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin described the attack as a “huge tragedy.”

At least a dozen people have been killed and many others wounded in what is being described as the most severe terrorist attack in Russia in last two decades as gunmen dressed in combat fatigues entered a large concert hall in Moscow, opening fire and detonating explosives.

But at least 18 people have been killed and 43 wounded in a shooting incident at the Crocus City Hall concert venue near Moscow, Russian media outlet Baza reported.Eyewitnesses reported that as many as five terrorists, clad in camouflage clothing, unleashed gunfire from automatic weapons at attendees inside the Crocus City Hall music venue near Moscow. Video footage captured the chaos and panic as the assailants carried out their attack.

The exact number of casualties and injuries remains unclear, as does the identity of the perpetrators. However, Russian news agencies have reported that 70 ambulance crews have been dispatched to the scene to attend to the wounded and transport them to medical facilities for treatment.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the raid, the worst terror attack in Russia in two decades that came as the fighting in Ukraine dragged into a third year. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin described the attack as a “huge tragedy.”

Russian news reports said that the assailants threw explosives, triggering a massive blaze at the Crocus City Hall on the western edge of Moscow. Video posted on social media showed huge plumes of black smoke rising over the building.

White House National Security Advisor John Kirby said Friday that he couldn’t yet speak about all the details but that “the images are just horrible. And just hard to watch.”

“Our thoughts are going to be with the victims of this terrible, terrible shooting attack,” Kirby said. “There are some moms and dads and brothers and sisters and sons and daughters who haven’t gotten the news yet. This is going to be a tough day.”

The attack took place as crowds gathered for a concert of Picnic, a famed Russian rock band, at the hall that can accommodate over 6,000 people. Russian news reports said that visitors were being evacuated, but some said that an unspecified number of people could have been trapped by the blaze.

Russia’s state RIA Novosti news agency reported that at least three people in combat fatigues fired weapons. The state Tass news agency also reported the shooting.

Extended rounds of gunfire could be heard on multiple videos posted by Russian media and Telegram channels. One showed two men with rifles moving through the mall. Another one showed a man inside the auditorium, saying the assailants set it on fire, as gunshots rang out incessantly in the background.

More videos showed up to four attackers, armed with assault rifles and wearing caps, who were shooting screaming people at point-blank range.

Andrei Vorobyov, the governor of the Moscow region, said he was heading to the area and set up a task force to deal with the damage. He didn’t immediately offer any further details.

Russian media reports said that riot police units were being sent to the area as people were being evacuated.

The attack followed a statement issued earlier this month by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow that urged the Americans to avoid crowded places in the Russian capital in view of an imminent attack, a warning that was repeated by several other Western embassies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who extended his grip on Russia for another six years in the March 15-17 presidential vote after a sweeping crackdown on dissent, earlier this week denounced the Western warnings as an attempt to intimidate Russians.

With inputs from AP.

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