Κυριακή 24 Μαρτίου 2024

Putin hints CIA helped Ukraine carry out Moscow terror attack -


 Four heavily armed men entered a popular concert hall and started shooting, causing heavy casualties.

The death toll in the terrorist attack at Crocus city hall in Moscow, Russia that took place on Friday evening is likely to cross 150. The figure is likely to rise with many of the injured being in serious condition.

In an attack reminiscent of what Mumbai witnessed in November 2008, when Pakistan-backed Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorists had attacked public places in India’s commercial capital, at least four heavily armed men entered a popular concert hall in Moscow, just 20 km from the well-fortified area of Kremlin, and started firing at the people who were inside the hall.
Multiple videos seen by The Sunday Guardian show the four terrorists, without showing any signs of panic or alarm, shooting down the people very calmly, suggesting that they were highly trained in combat situations. Similar scenes were witnessed in Mumbai, 15 years ago.
Most of the people in Moscow died from gunshot wounds and poisoning by combustion, which happened after the terrorists set the place on fire by using incendiary tools that they had brought with themselves, which led to the collapse of the roof of the hall that led to more fatalities.
According to initial investigations, the terrorists deliberately set emergency exits on fire to block people from fleeing. At some doors several bodies were lying in a pile, depicting how the victims must have tried to leave the burning hall.
Later, all the four terrorists escaped by dropping their weapons and mingling with the crowd that was running away from the spot.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to reach out to convey his solidarity with the Russian people during the tragedy. “We strongly condemn the heinous terrorist attack in Moscow. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. India stands in solidarity with the government and the people of the Russian Federation in this hour of grief,” he posted on social media platform “X”.

On Saturday afternoon Indian time, reports and visuals emerged claiming that the Russian security forces had detained 11 people including the four terrorists who were directly involved in the attack.
The Federal Security Service or the FSB, which is the principal security agency of Russia and the successor to the Soviet Union’s KGB, stated that after carrying out the attack, the terrorists had fled by a Renault make car towards the Russian-Ukrainian border. They were later arrested within hours of each other from Bryansk region, roughly 400 km and a 5-hour drive from Moscow.
A late night input that was put out by entities that are regarded as close to Russian security agencies, stated that the shooters were from Tajikistan and were recruited by a Tajikistani citizen called Salmon Khorasani, who is a member of the Islamic State of the Khorasan Province (ISKP) and is presently staying in the Af-Pak region.
It further claimed that Khorasani was an intermediate link between the Islamic State of the Khorasan Province and the US intelligence agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
After being recruited, these four were given instructions on how to carry out the operations by an intelligence agency in Turkey. The input further states that after committing the crime, they had to flee to Ukraine and from there, they were to be transported to Turkey, and then to the custody of Salmon Khorasani by the intelligence agency. The input did not identify which was the intelligence agency involved.
It is pertinent to mention that last week in an article written former Taliban commander, Ehsanullah Ehsan and published by The Sunday Guardian (Pakistan’s new trick to keep its proxies alive in Afghanistan), the writer had reported about how the intelligence agencies of Tajikistan and that of Pakistan were working together to help each other on strategic issues and for that they had planned to used ISIS and ISKP terrorists that were being hosted by Pakistan, against their targets.

What is likely to complicate the already disturbed relations between Russia and the Western world is that while the Western media and its leaders, as soon as the news of the attack broke, attributed the attack to the terror group Islamic State (IS) and its Af-Pak-based regional branch, the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), Russian observers believe that the attack was planned by Ukraine and its handlers (referring to the United States).
The fact that a purported message by ISIS on social media was put out claiming responsibility for the attack, has not helped the matter with Russian commentators and other neutral observers stating that the format in which the message was put out was not used by ISIS any more.
Statements that were shared on pro-Russian social media platforms, attributing the same to Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT media outlet, claimed that Margarita had blamed the terror attacks on Ukraine.
“We already know the names of the perpetrators. We have already seen their faces and we know that they will ‘sing’ during interrogation. And it immediately becomes obvious why American media shouted in unison that it was ISIS yesterday. Because this is not ISIS. It’s just that the actors were selected in such a way that they could convince the stupid part of the global community that it was ISIS. These are Ukrainians. And the fact that just yesterday, even before the arrests, even before the names of the perpetrators were found, Western intelligence services began to convince the world that it was ISIS—that’s what gave them away. This is not ISIS. This is a well-coordinated team of several other, also widely known, abbreviations,” she reportedly stated.
The same theme of thinking was being put across by the majority of Russian social media platforms that are seen close to the government.
In August 2022, Margarita was termed by the United States as one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s main faces of propaganda and disinformation, both internationally and inside Russia.
Whoever the perpetrators, be it the ISKP or the Ukrainians or any other group operating on the orders of any other entity, the attack is likely to put a question mark on the promise of security and stability that helped Putin win the recent election

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 less than two week ago. The attack being carried out as part of a larger plan to remove him from power, by making him look weak and subsequently becoming unpopular, is not being ruled out in Russian circles. Russia is already engaged in an external fight with formidable allies led by the US and NATO and Putin simply cannot either afford or has the wherewithal to handle an internal disturbance at this juncture.
Hence, it is expected that a strong and loud response from Putin is likely to come that will not be limited to Russia’s boundaries.

In his address to the nation on Saturday evening, Putin stated that as per preliminary information that was gathered by Russian agencies after the arrest of the four terrorists, Ukraine had created a “window” in the Bryansk region so that the terrorists could cross over safely from Russia to Ukraine after carrying out the attack.
Historical data suggest that the modus operandi of ISIS terrorists is to carry out suicide attack and ensuring the terror attack ends only with their death. In the present case, as per information available until now, the terrorists had come with a plan to escape after carrying out the massacre.
On Saturday night, Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs denied reports that those detained on suspicion of committing the terrorist attack were Russian citizens and stated that all of them were foreigners.
In a video shared online by one of the social media platforms that is operated from Russia, one of the purported terrorists is being interrogated by uniformed soldiers and during this interrogation he is telling them that he flew to Russia from Turkey on 4 March and that he was given the task by his handlers to kill all those present inside the hall. In a raw interrogation video shot on mobile phones by Russian forces, another alleged terrorist is being interrogated with the help of an interpreter, as he is unable to speak in Russian.
On 7 March, the US embassy in Moscow issued a security alert warning that its personnel were “monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts.” The statement warned Americans that an attack could take place in the next 48 hours.
On 19 March, the Russian government termed the US embassy statement as an “obvious blackmail” made with “the intention to intimidate and destabilize our society”.

Russia has not been immune to fanatics practising Islam who have carried out terror activities in the past in the country where about 10% or 14 million people practise Islam.
In 2010, Moscow saw twin suicide bombings by women who were later found to be members of Al Qaeda. 38 people had died in the attack. in 2013, the country witnessed two suicide bombings in October and December, in which 41 people lost their lives. It was attributed to Islamic jihadist groups.
In October 2015, 217 passengers aboard a Russian flight were killed when a bomb detonated in the aircraft while it was still midair. The attack was claimed by ISIS. In 2017 and 2019 too, ISIS carried out multiple terror attacks in the country, without causing much casualties.

Abhinandan Mishra