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As death toll in Moscow attack rises to 143, migrants face fury and raids

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Russian authorities on Wednesday raised the official death toll to 143 in the terrorist attack on a Moscow concert venue, and Baza, a Telegram channel close to Russian law enforcement, reported that as many as 95 people are missing and not included on the lists of dead or wounded.

Russia’s Emergency Services Ministry, citing official Health Ministry data, published a list of 143 names of people who were killed Friday when four gunmen with automatic weapons burst into Crocus City Hall on the outskirts of Moscow, shot many concertgoers and then set the building on fire. Many of the victims appeared to have died of smoke inhalation, Russian authorities said.

The Islamic State asserted responsibility for the attack, but senior Russian security officials, without citing evidence, have alleged that Ukraine, the United States and Britain had a role in organizing the strike.

Russian security forces have arrested four men, all citizens of Tajikistan, and accused them of carrying out the assault. The men appeared in a Moscow court Sunday and showed signs of being badly beaten. Videos circulating widely on Russian social media showed evidence of torture, including one whose ear was partly cut off.

The report by Baza suggested that the final death toll could be substantially higher than 143. Authorities have said some 360 people were wounded in the attack, with dozens still hospitalized.

Meanwhile, in the wake of Friday’s assault, there has been a surge in raids on dormitories and workplaces where Central Asian migrants live and work, as well as heightened checks on migrant workers.

Russia is home to millions of Central Asian immigrants and migrant workers who commonly face discrimination, which is certain to intensify after the arrests in the Crocus City Hall rampage.

Tajik migrants have reported a spike in xenophobic aggression, and in cities across Russia, assaults on migrant communities have been reported.

In the city of Blagoveshchensk, in the Amur region of Russia’s Far East, a shopping center frequented by Central Asian migrants was set on fire by unknown assailants. The city’s mayor, Oleg Imameev, said the arson was motivated “obviously, on ethnic grounds.” And in Kaluga, southwest of Moscow, a group of people beat up three citizens of Tajikistan — one of whom was hospitalized.

On Wednesday, police and the national guard raided a huge warehouse on the outskirts of Moscow, according to the state news agency Tass.

Tass reported that authorities were scrutinizing passports and work permits at the warehouse, which has at least 5,000 employees. ASTRA, an independent Russian outlet, reported that police were using batons to beat those who tried to resist inspection.

Videos shared on Russian Telegram channels showed a column of dozens of people being led away from the warehouse used by Wildberries, an e-commerce company, as well as police wagons stationed near a large crowd of people dressed in purple uniforms. One Russian Telegram channel, Masha, reported that at least 40 people were detained.

In a post on Instagram, the Russian Tajik singer Manizha expressed fears that national fury over the Crocus City Hall attack “will fall on Tajiks and all Central Asians.” Manizha appealed for kindness. “Despite all the horror and darkness, we are obliged to remain human beings,” she said.

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