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Three More People Arrested in Russia During a Concert

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has arrested three more people suspected of involvement in last month’s mass shooting at a concert hall near Moscow, the FSB security service said on Thursday.

A Russian citizen and two foreign nationals, all from Central Asia, were arrested in Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Omsk, Interfax reported citing an FSB statement. At least 144 people were killed in the March 22 attack on Crocus City Hall, Russia’s deadliest in 20 years.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility, but Russia said, without providing evidence, that it believed Ukraine was behind the massacre. President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia “cannot become the target of terrorist attacks by Islamic fundamentalists” because the country is a unique example of interreligious harmony.

Putin did not mention Ukraine in his latest comments, but he did say that Kiev would benefit from the attack and that four suspected gunmen were heading towards the Ukrainian border – where he said, someone had prepared a “window” for them to cross the border – at the time they were captured in western Russia.

Ukraine has denied involvement and the United States, which has sent warnings to Moscow about an impending attack by Islamist rebels, said Moscow’s attempt to blame Kiev was propaganda and nonsense. Ten suspects, mainly from the Central Asian country of Tajikistan, have so far been officially detained.

According to the FSB, two of the three arrested eventually transferred the money to buy the guns and vehicles used in the attack. The third person directly participated in recruiting accomplices and sponsoring the perpetrators. State media published an FSB video showing three arrests, with suspects stopped on the street and herded into unmarked trucks.

 

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