MOSCOW: The four armed men walked calmly towards the metal detectors at Crocus City Hall, firing their automatic weapons point-blank in short bursts at terrified civilians who fell screaming in a hail of bullets.

Nearby, one witness named Natalya had just taken off her coat and was standing in line on Friday (Mar 22) evening at the internal entrance to the 6,200-seat concert hall outside Moscow, where Soviet-era rock group Picnic was to perform its hit Afraid of Nothing.

“The shots came from behind us,” Natalya, who asked for her surname not to be used, told Reuters. She was just about to enter the stalls.

“It was loud, like a firecracker blast, fireworks, but like an automatic burst. I could hear it right behind me, not far away,” Natalya said.

Then Natalya ran for her life.

“Everyone was screaming; everyone was running,” she said. She ran to the nearby metro station through the cold Moscow night without her coat and escaped. “I experienced terrible emotions. It is simply a nightmare.”


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