Islamic State (ISIS) Weekly Acknowledges Capture Of Moscow Attackers, Claims Weapon Malfunction Left Attack Unfinished, Alleges Previous Unclaimed Attacks In Russia

March 31, 2024

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Issue 436 of Islamic State (ISIS) weekly magazine Al-Naba', released on March 28, 2024,[1] contains extensive coverage of the March 22 attack at the Crocus City music hall in the Moscow suburb of Krasnogorsk, for which ISIS claimed responsibility,[2] including newly disclosed details. The article acknowledges that the four perpetrators were apprehended by Russian security forces, claiming that they had intended to fight to the death but escaped the site when their weapons malfunctioned, while dismissing their statements following their capture as false and given under duress. It also alleges that ISIS has carried out past attacks inside Russia which it did not claim.

Attack Occurred On Tenth Anniversary Of ISIS Caliphate Declaration

The two-page article, the first in the Al-Naba' issue covering ISIS attacks, is titled "Coinciding with the Passage of a Decade from the Announcement of the Caliphate, Its Soldiers Strike in the Heart of Russia in a Major Attack that Harvested Hundreds of Killed and Wounded and Spread Terror in Crusader Capitals."

The first page of the Al-Naba' article

Describing the attack as "the most violent security blow" on Russian soil in years, the article celebrates its leaving hundreds of "Christian" casualties and raising the alarm level in many "crusader capitals," "proving to them with bullets and blood that in your homelands will be the battles."

Attackers Planned To Continue Shooting, Clash With Security Forces, But Fled When Their Weapons Jammed

Adding "exclusive" details not included in ISIS' initial claims of the attack, the article quotes an ISIS "security source" who stated that the four attackers – who are not named – confirmed that they shot about 200 Christians before some of their rifles malfunctioned, following which they continued their attack by slitting the throats of "whichever Christians they found in their path" before leaving the hall. As of the article's composition, about 500 people had been reported killed or injured, including dozens who remained missing. The article gloats: "The large conflagration caused most of the hall to catch fire and its roof to collapse on those who failed to escape, who then died of burning and suffocation under the ruins, tasting some of what the Muslims tasted, praise to Allah."

According to the source, the attackers had prepared a large quantity of ammunition, expecting to kill a larger number of concertgoers and to engage in a gun battle with security forces, but the "unexpected malfunction" of their weapons led them to "hurry to leave the site, beginning an exhausting search in which ground and air forces participated and culminating in their being surrounded in a forest – may Allah release them from captivity in honor and accept [their deed] from them."

Russian Claims Of Western Complicity Are Belied By ISIS Attacks On Both West And East

According to Al-Naba', Russia accused the "Western camp" of complicity in the attack "to cover up and escape admitting its great failure in the face of the mujahideen," asserting that the U.S. and Europe similarly blame Russia and Iran for jihadi attacks in their countries. These accusations are belied by the fact that both the Western and Eastern camps have "received their share of attacks by the soldiers of the caliphate over the past years."

The article further notes that in contradiction to the claims of Western complicity, Western countries raised their security alert warning to the highest level, fearing similar attacks in their own capitals, especially "crusader France" which "previously tasted from the same cup in [the 2015 attacks in] Paris and [the 2016 attack in] Nice."

Attack Horrified And Terrorized Enemies, Fulfilling Goals Of Jihad

Lashing out at ISIS' ideological rivals, the article notes that the Afghan Taliban joined "the crusader states and the apostate governments, movements, and entities" in condemning the attack, as it has become "an ally to the Western and Eastern axes in the war against jihad." Statements from around the world condemning the attack described it as "bloody" and "horrific," showing "the depth of the blow and the enormity of the pain which struck them and the terror which they shared"; the article praises all of the above as some of "the goals of jihad for the sake of Allah."

The source quoted by Al-Naba' discounted statements made by the perpetrators following their capture, noting that "anyone with the slightest level of knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence knows that Islamic shari'a considers a prisoner to be under duress in whatever he says, and there is no doubt that crusader Russia is extremely keen to make the prisoners say whatever serves its political conflicts with its rivals and covers up its losses before the mujahideen. This is the same path that crusader America follows."

ISIS Has Attacked Russia Many Times, Has Left Some Attacks Unclaimed

Adding that this was not the first time ISIS attacked Russia, the source noted that years ago the mujahideen shot down a Russian passenger plane flying above its "Sinai province,"[3] killing and wounding hundreds, and have carried out many attacks inside Russia, "some of which the mujahideen claimed and some which they kept silent about." In addition, ISIS operatives continue to fight Russian forces and militias in the Syrian desert and African Sahel.

Addressing those "drowning in conspiracy theories," the ISIS source told them to "amass more of their defeatist theories for the coming days, for the mujahideen have more in their cartridge – Allah willing."

Infographic Lists Moscow Attack Among Bloodiest ISIS Operations Of All Time

The issue also includes an infographic poster about the "Moscow raid," noting that it was perpetrated by four men armed with machine guns, incendiary bombs, and knives; targeted a concert attended by more than 6,000 Christians; and killed or wounded about 500. The poster ranked the attack as among the bloodiest operations ever claimed by ISIS, after the 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings which killed or wounded about 1,000;[4] and the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which ISIS claimed and alleged caused about 600 casualties.[5] Other mass-casualty attacks listed are the 2016 Brussels attacks[6] and 2016 Nice attack,[7] which killed or wounded more than 300; the shooting down of the Russian plane in Sinai, killing 220; the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 200 casualties; and the 2016 Orlando shooting, which killed and wounded about 100.[8]


[1] Telegram, March 29, 2024.

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