Sunday, June 23, 2024

Russian interior ministry says gunmen have opened fire in Dagestan

Priest and six law enforcement officers killed in attacks on synagogues and church in Russia’s Dagestan

CNN — Six law enforcement officers and a priest have reportedly been killed in what appear to be coordinated attacks by gunmen in Russia’s southernmost Dagestan province. Attacks have been reported in a church and a synagogue in the city of Derbent and at a synagogue and police traffic stop in the city of Makhachkala. Regional authorities say 12 law enforcement officers have also been wounded, though it is unclear in which city. The two cities are about 120km (75 miles) apart. Two “militants” have also been killed following the attacks, the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported on Sunday, citing Dagestan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. A priest was killed in the attack on the church in Derbent, according to the Dagestan Public Monitoring Commission Chairman, Shamil Khadulaev. “According to the information I received, Father Nikolay was killed in the church in Derbent, they slit his throat. He was 66-years-old and very ill,” Khadulaev said. He also said a security guard at the church armed with only a pistol was shot. Additional priests have locked themselves in the church and are waiting for help, Khadulaev said. Meanwhile, the synagogue in Derbent was set on fire with photos showing large flames and plumes of smoke billowing heavily out of a series of windows on at least one floor of the structure. In what appears to be coordinated attacks that took place around the same time as those in Derbent, a synagogue and a police traffic post in Makhachkala also came under fire. The Israeli foreign ministry described what it said was “a combined attack” on the two synagogues. “The synagogue in Derbent was set on fire and burned to the ground. Local guards were killed. The synagogue in Makhachkala was attacked by gunfire, there are no further details,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “As far as is known, there were no worshipers in the synagogues at the time of the attack, and there are no known casualties from the Jewish community,” according to the statement. The head of the Dagestan Republic, Sergey Melikov, has issued a message on Telegram saying that “unknown persons made attempts to destabilize the social situation. Dagestan police officers stood in their way. According to preliminary information, there are victims among them.” Source

Synagogue, church attacks in Russia’s Dagestan kill police, priest

Gunmen have killed at least eight people – six police officers, a national guard member and a priest – during what appear to be coordinated attacks on a synagogue, an Orthodox church and a police post in the Russian republic of Dagestan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Dagestan has said. Twelve people were wounded in the attacks, which took place in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala on Sunday evening.Both the synagogue and the church are located in Derbent, which is home to ancient Jewish community in the mainly-Muslim North Caucasus region. The police post attack took place in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, approximately 125km (78 miles) away. The synagogue in Derbent was set on fire as a result of the attack, local officials told the Reuters news agency, while eyewitnesses also reported that smoke was rising from the church. Four of the attackers have been shot dead in a subsequent shoot-out, according to Russian news agencies quoting the local interior ministry. The Russian news agency TASS reported that the attackers were members of “an international terrorist organisation”, according to law enforcement agencies. The attackers in Derbent had earlier been seen fleeing in a car. “Tonight in Derbent and Makhachkala, unknown people made attempts to destablise the public situation,” said the Head of the Republic of Dagestan, Sergei Melikov. “Dagestan police officers stood in their way. According to preliminary information, there are casualties among them. All services are acting in accordance with the instruction … The identities of the attackers are being established.” The Israeli foreign ministry said the synagogue in Derbent had been burned to the ground and shots had been fired at a second synagogue in Makhachkala. The statement said it was believed there were no worshippers in the synagogue at the time. Daniel Hawkins, reporting for Al Jazeera from Moscow, said that Dagestan has previously seen separatist violence in the 1990s and early 2000s, Hawkins noted. “Violence there, as the years have gone on, has died down,” Hawkins said, explaining that the region never saw the kind of conflict that engulfed the neighbouring Russian republic of Chechnya, which saw Russian forces and separatists fight two brutal wars during the same period. Source

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