Ambassadors lay flowers at site of Moscow concert hall massacre

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British Deputy Head of Mission to Russia Tom Dodd, center, with other ambassadors of foreign diplomatic missions, attends a flower-laying ceremony at a makeshift memorial in front of the Crocus City Hall on the western outskirts of Moscow, Russia, on March 30. (AP)

MOSCOW, March 31, (AP): Foreign diplomats in Russia laid flowers Saturday at the site of last week’s attack on a suburban Moscow concert hall that killed 144 people.
Those in attendance included ambassadors from the United States, EU countries, Africa and Latin America. Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said the “around 130 diplomatic missions” taking part included representatives of “unfriendly states.”
Since the attack, thousands of people have brought bunches of flowers, wreaths and other tokens such as teddy bears, creating a makeshift memorial at the Crocus City Hall.
Russian state news agency Tass reported Saturday that the number of people wounded in the attack was 551, quoting figures from the Moscow regional department of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry. Previous figures have been much lower and it did not explain the discrepancy.
The death toll rose to 144 on Friday when a severely injured victim died in a hospital, according to Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said Saturday that 134 of the dead had been identified. “Genetic tests are being carried out for other, as yet unidentified, victims,” the committee said in a statement on messaging app Telegram.
An affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest on Russian soil in years. The Kremlin, however, has insisted that Ukraine and the West had a role, something Kyiv has vehemently denied.
Nine people were detained by Tajikistan’s state security service in relation to the attack, RIA Novosti said Friday.
In Russia, a total of nine suspects have faced court so far and were remanded in pre-trial detention. The latest hearing took place Friday, with a judge in the Basmanny District Court ruling that suspect Lutfulloi Nazrimad should be held in custody until at least May 22. Russian independent news site Mediazona cited Nazrimad as saying in court that he was born in Tajikistan.
Since the attack, Tajikistan’s Ministry of Labor, Migration and Employment has recorded an outflow of migrants workers from Moscow back to Tajikistan.

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