BREAKING NEWS; 40 Killed in Russia concert Party as Islamic State takes responsibility

The statement from so-called Islamic State (IS) saying they were behind the attack came out on one of the group’s official accounts.

That is not absolute confirmation – sometimes IS has issued false claims – however, a US official has told CBS, the BBC’s US partner, that it has intelligence confirming the IS claim that it carried out the attack.

The nature of the assault – marauding gunmen killing as many civilians as possible – is typical of the way they operate. There are similarities, for instance, to the Bataclan attacks at a concert in Paris back in 2015 linked to the group.

The question of who was behind today’s attack is highly charged because of the international context. Ukrainian officials – and their allies – are clearly worried Kyiv might be blamed by Moscow.

There is also the question of the US warning on 7 March about “extremists” attacking concerts. That public warning – based almost certainly on intelligence – appears to have been dismissed by Russian officials.

And so while there are always questions about who was behind an attack and if it could have been prevented, this time the pressure on Moscow may be more intense to see what they say and how they respond.

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