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Death toll from concert hall attack in Russia rises to 143

Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg. (The Kremlin/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The death toll in the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack near Moscow has risen to 143, the Ministry of Emergency Situations said on March 27.

It was not clear whether new bodies were discovered at the site or whether people who were injured during the rampage on March 22 died.

More than 80 people who were wounded in the attack are still being treated in hospitals.

Four armed men attacked the Crocus City Hall concert complex, spraying bullets and slashing people as well as using incendiary weapons to set the venue on fire.

A Russian court charged four Tajik citizens on March 25 with committing an act of terrorism. Another four have been accused of helping the attackers.

Reports say people from Central Asia who live in Russia are under more pressure and face anti-migrant sentiment following the attack. This week, several migrant workers from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan were detained and questioned in Moscow for hours.

The Tajik government, which is close to the Kremlin, has interrogated the relatives of the four men accused of carrying out the attack.

Uzbekistan has advised its citizens in Russia to comply with the heightened security measures and always carry their identification documents and labor permits.

The government in Kyrgyzstan has urged against travelling to Russia due to fears that its citizens will be harassed, while the authorities in Turkmenistan are looking to bring home Turkmen national studying in Russia.

The attack has been claimed by the Islamic State (IS) militant group. While IS has not explicitly credited any of its affiliates, Western intelligence and experts blame Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) for the incident.

Top Russian officials insist that Ukraine and the West were involved in the attack. Kyiv has rejected the allegation, while the United States says it warned Moscow of an imminent attack two weeks before the incident.