US Warned Russia of 'Imminent' Terrorist Attack, Urged American Citizens to Avoid 'Concert Gatherings' Weeks Before Moscow Concert Hall Attack

Moscow concert hall attack
Stills from video footage of the attack on Moscow's Crocus City Hall on Friday circulating on social media. Twitter

Weeks before gunmen attacked a concert hall in Moscow on Friday, March 22, the U.S. issued warnings about a potential terror attack in the city.

According to Reuters, more than 60 people were killed and over 145 injured after multiple camouflage-clad gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons at concertgoers at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow in Russia's deadliest attack since the 2004 Beslan school siege.

Graphic videos posted on social media showed the armed gunmen opening fire at civilians in the lobby of the building before making their way into the main auditorium, where a band called "Picnic" was scheduled to perform. An explosion inside the venue also sparked a fire, completely engulfing the hall before spreading to the roof.

ISIS Claimed Responsibility for the Attack

Islamic State, the militant group that once sought control over swathes of Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the attack, the group's Amaq agency said on Telegram.

Islamic State said its fighters attacked on the outskirts of Moscow, "killing and wounding hundreds and causing great destruction to the place before they withdrew to their bases safely." The statement gave no further detail.

US Issued Warning of Terror Attack on March 7

The attack on Crocus City Hall, about 20 km (12 miles) from the Kremlin, comes just two weeks after the U.S. embassy in Russia warned that "extremists" had imminent plans for an attack in Moscow and urged American citizens to avoid large gatherings, specifically mentioning "concerts" in the security alert.

"The Embassy is monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and U.S. citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours," the March 7 security alert said.

The warning was issued hours after Russia's security service, the FSB, claimed to have foiled an Islamic State plot against a Moscow synagogue. The FSB said the terrorists were killed when resisting arrest, adding that firearms, ammunition and components for an improvised explosive device were found and seized from the area.