Eyewitness of Crocus terror act: “I saw one of terrorists”-INTERVIEW

Eyewitness of Crocus terror act: “I saw one of terrorists”-INTERVIEW
# 25 March 2024 21:40 (UTC +04:00)

Severe inspections were held a week ago the terrorism act in Crocus, OMON arrived with trained dogs”.

“I saw one of the terrorists, he had a beard and was wearing a green uniform. I decided to take people to a safe exit. It was very scary. I was afraid that they might throw grenades and shoot at us,” said Islam Khalilov of Kyrgyz origin, who was an eyewitness of Crocus City Hall terrorism act on March 22 and saved lives of hundreds of people, in his interview with APA’s correspondent in Moscow Farid Akbarov.

Note: Islam Khalilov (born in 2008) lives in Krasnogorsk city of Moscow Oblast, a 15-minute walk from Crocus City Hall, where the terrorist attack took place. Islam, studying in the 8th grade, is a son of Bakhtiyar and Aypari Khalilovs who are from Kyrgyzstan.

Islam, how do you remember the day of terror act?

It was an ordinary working day. Roaring sounds came from the first floor after the third bell at 8:00 p.m. I was working as a wardrobe attendant in the minus first floor. These were very strange sounds. Firstly, I did not understand anything, did not understand presence of terrorists. I did not even think such kind of thing. Then I understood when I saw people’s run from the side of the escalator. I started to cry, to call people. All were crying: “They are shooting”. I started to take people to exit.”

How long have you been working at Crocus? How did you know the location of the emergency exits?

I have been working as a wardrobe attendant at Crocus City Hall for about a year. That was why I knew location of emergency exits in the building, where the incident occurred. We were also trained, shown place of all evacuation exits. I was ready for it, principally. A few weeks ago information was disseminated in press about possibility of a terrorism attack. That was why, very severe inspections were held at Crocus a week ago, OMON arrived with trained dogs. They controlled everything. As for I understand, weakness occurred relating security a week after inspections, terrorists used it.”

Did you see exit of all people, who were with you in video, released on internet?

There were hundreds of people in wardrobe. I cannot say their exact number. I waited for exit of people. Then I left after them. However, all would have done the same if they were me.

How did you understand an act of terrorism occurred, presence of terrorists there?

Firstly, I did not understand presence of terrorists there. However, after sounds of firing I understood there were terrorists in the building.

Did you see any of terrorists?

I saw one of the terrorists. He had a beard and was wearing a green uniform.

What did you feel at that time? Were you scared?

Then I felt scared. I was afraid of crowd mostly. I was afraid that they might through a grenade on crowd, fire on us. It was the most terrible one. Sincerely, I was very afraid. I was afraid that my any false action may destroy life of me and hundreds of people.

Did you see the dead?

While running, I saw many dead bodies on ground. Their number was so many.

What did you do after leaving the site, arriving at a safe place?

When I was in a safe place, I felt that all left behind. My parents were in shock when I came home. I told them happenings. I knew that Crocus was attacked. They were crying. I told them that I had helped people to take them exits.

Who take the video, which was released on internet and proved your heroism?

In fact, I took the video for myself. However, my friends released the video on social media.

Did any of those, whom you saved, keep contact with you after terror act? Were you questioned by law-enforcement bodies? Because you were an eyewitness of the incident…

I received many calls from those, whom I saved, after the incident. They expressed gratitude to me, there were also some, who delivered financial aid. Yes, law-enforcement bodies also kept contact with me, I was asked the occurrences, what I saw, what I know.

What are your future plans? Which job do you plan to choose?

Now I am studying in the 8th grade in Krasnogorsk city. I want to be a professional footballer. I am now a member of teenager team of Spartak Club.