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Multiple casualties and blast reported at shooting in concert hall near Moscow

Multiple people have reportedly been killed and many more wounded after several gunman opened fire at a concert hall near to Moscow.

The state Tassnews agency reported that the shooting occurred at the Crocus City Hall, a huge concert hall on the western edge of the Russian capital.

Graphic footage from inside the hall showed gunman moving steadily through the venue firing shots and leaving a trail of destruction. People were seen fleeing past dead bodies.

Other video showed a number of people lying motionless in pools of blood outside the hall, though the footage was not immediately verifiable, according to Reuters.

It was not immediately clear how many people had been injured and who the gunmen were, but Russian news agencies said 50 ambulance crews had been sent to the scene. Riot police units have also reportedly been sent to the area as people were evacuated.

“A terrible tragedy occurred in the shopping center Crocus City today,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said. “I am sorry for the loved ones of the victims.” Mr Sobyanin said all necessary assistance would be provided to those injured during the incident.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Several other Russian media outlets reported the shooting and said that the mall was on fire. Video circulated on social media, showing huge plumes of black smoke rising over the building, appeared to confirm the reports.

Russian news reports also said that the assailants also used explosives to cause the massive blaze. RIA Novosti said the three men “threw a grenade or an incendiary bomb, which started a fire” in the concert hall, per one of its correspondents on the scene.

Shortly after news of the attack broke, White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby told reporters: “There is no indication at this time that Ukraine, or Ukrainians were involved in the shooting, but again, this just broke.”

The unfolding incident comes after UK and US residents were warned not to travel to Russia earlier this month amid a warning that a terror attack was planned for the country’s capital.

The US embassy in Russia warned that “extremists” had imminent plans for an attack in Moscow, hours after Russian security services said they had foiled a planned shooting at a synagogue by a cell from the Afghan arm of Islamic State.

The embassy, which has repeatedly urged all US citizens to leave Russia immediately, gave no further details about the nature of the threat, but said people should avoid concerts and crowds and be aware of their surroundings.