Gunmen Attack Synagogue and Church in Russia, 7 Confirmed Dead

Gunmen Attack Synagogue and Church in Russia, 7 Confirmed Dead

In the southernmost province of Dagestan, Russia, gunmen launched a coordinated series of attacks on Sunday night that included targeting a synagogue, an Orthodox church, and a police post.

According to local sources that cited the interior ministry of the province, at least 12 police officers have been injured and at least six police officers have died.

Speaking to RIA Novosti, Gayana Gariyeva, a spokesperson for Dagestan’s interior ministry, said that a 66-year-old Russian Orthodox priest was also murdered in the attacks.

The attacks happened in Derbent, a coastal city, and Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan.

The attacks in this primarily Muslim region with a history of armed insurgency were labeled as terrorist acts by Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee.

According to Dagestan’s Interior Ministry, a gang of armed men opened fire on a church and a synagogue in the Caspian Sea city of Derbent.

State media said that there was fire in both the church and the synagogue. Reports of an attack on a traffic police checkpoint and a church in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, surfaced almost simultaneously.

An operation to counter terrorists was declared in the area by the authorities. A priest and police officers were slain in the attacks, according to the Anti-Terrorist Committee. Afterwards, it said that five gunmen had been “eliminated.” However, the number of militants involved in the attacks was unclear.

The attacks were not immediately attributed to anyone. Regarding the allegation of a terrorist act, the authorities have opened a criminal investigation.

Reportedly, the perpetrators took off in a car. As of Sunday afternoon, two of the gunmen had apparently been shot and killed.

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A second police officer was murdered in a gunfight at a police post in Makhachkala, which is around 75 miles to the north along the shore of the Caspian Sea, according to local media.

According to AFP, Borush Gorin, the head of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia’s public council, claimed on Telegram that the Makhachkala synagogue had also been set on fire.

Although no one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings, several Dagestani leaders pointed the finger at NATO and Ukraine.

Lawmaker Abdulkhakim Gadzhiyev of Dagestan stated on Telegram, “There is no doubt that these terrorist attacks are in one way or another connected with the intelligence services of Ukraine and NATO countries.”

Officials from Ukraine refrained from commenting on the attacks right away.

In southern Russia, Dagestan is a predominantly Muslim area that shares borders with Georgia and Azerbaijan. Reuters stated that Derbent is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the location of a historic Jewish settlement in the South Caucasus.


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