More than a dozen killed in synagogue, church attacks in Russia’s Dagestan
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More than a dozen killed in synagogue, church attacks in Russia’s Dagestan

Civilians and a priest among the victims, terrorist attacks take place in Derbent and in a police station in Makhachkala.

Mortars have been thrown at a Church, a Synagogue and a Police Checkpoint in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Dagestan, in which 15 Police and National Guard Forces as well as several civilians and an orthodox Priest were killed.

Violence erupted in Derbent and Makhachkala Sunday, the Russian Orthodox Church’s Pentecost feast, as gunmen attacked and at least a dozen people were injured.

Posting videos on social media and on Russian television, Russian ultranationalists aired a publication where the skies above the town of Derbent were depicted as covered with smoke and fire following a petrol bomb attack on the Jewish synagogue in which an ancient Jewish community resides in the mainly Muslim populated area.

Other targets in Makhachkala, the capital most populous city of Dagestan, about 125km (78 miles) to the south- west like the police post were attacked.

Russia’s Investigative Committee stated that it had launched criminal cases to probe ‘acts of terror’ in Dagestan, a south Russian region which is a part of Chechnya and which is ranking as one of the poorest regions in Russia.

According to the National Anti-terrorism Committee statement provided to the Russian News Agency, RIA Novosti, this evening in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala armed attacks were conducted on two police checks, a church, and Christian churches.

“Due to the terrorist attacks, let me say that preliminary data show that a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church and policemen were killed.”

A source quoted the Russian Orthodox Church chairing its commission for the South, saying that Archpriest Nikolai Kotelnikov had been “brutally killed” in Derbent.

‘International terrorist organization’

This plot of the attack at Derbent synagogue occurred 40 minutes before people were to conduct the evening prayers.

According to the chairman of the public council of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia Boruch Gorin, on his Telegram channel: “The synagogue in Derbent is on fire.” “The situation in Makhachkala was also sad since the synagogue in the city has also been set on fire with all the structures completely burned down.

The rabbi of Makhachkala, Rami Davidov, subsequently informed the state-funded RIA Novosti that neither people were exterminated nor maimed in his synagogue.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Dagestan reported that 19 people entered a church in one city and they were slowly evacuated.

He said that six attackers were eliminated, adding that the incident’s organizers were identified as followers of a local terrorist organization, headed by a man known as Dokka Umarin Maulov.

Self-styled media of Russia news agency TASS citing the law enforcement agencies said that the gunmen belonged to an international terrorist organization.

The perpetrators of the attack have not been identified as of now.

“Today in Derbent and Makhachkala, individuals whose identity is unknown introduced attempts to sabotage the state of affairs in the public,” said Melikov.

“Dagestan police officers stood in their way’, preliminary information revealed that some of them were killed’, all are obeying the instruction …, the identities of the aggressors are being determined.”

The attacks happened three months after more than 133 people were gunned down when assailants raided a pop concert at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow’s outskirts. Keeper is referring to the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP also known as (ISIS-K), based in Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for that attack, while Moscow accused Ukraine ^{[37]} of involvement in the incident without any proof.

Earlier in April the FSB of Russia claimed that four individuals were detained in Dagestan being suspected of being involved in the Crocus City Hall attack planning.

Recapping the events of June 23, the ISW based in Washington, DC noted that the Russian branch of ISKP’s Al-Azaim Media indicated the practitioners had acknowledged that theosis “their brothers have boasted about their actions in Dagestan, being from the Caucasus.

“In particular, Al-Azaim did not assume the tasks for the attack itself, and, furthermore, the mention of the [Islamic] Caucasus makes it highly likely that […] Wilayat Kavkaz [ISIL’s branch in the North Caucasus] is the perpertrator [sic] of the attack,” the ISW stated.

Speaking about the situation in Dagestan, Daniel Hawkins, Al Jazeera correspondent in Moscow, mentioned that the activity of the region increased several years ago in 90s and at the beginning of the 2000s.

“Violence there, as the years have gone on, has died down,” Hawkins said, however the region was never like the Chechens, the neighboring Russian republic where Russian forces fought two ferocious wars within the same span of time.

“What we’ve seen here is an organized attack on targeted civilian religious structures. We saw that, and I believe that it will certainly be quite surprising for Russians across the Federation,” Hawkins said.

And in the previous year in October, citizens encroached on the airport in Makhachkala for a flight that arrived from Israel. The police detained at least 60 people who entered the protected territory and rushed to the area of the aircraft actively expressing anti-Semitic slogans.

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