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24/06/24 | 9:02 am | Russia

Deadly terror attacks on Dagestan synagogues and churches in Russia, 9 killed, 25 injured

As many as nine people have been killed and 25 sustained injuries in a coordinated attacks by gunmen in Dagestan, Russia’s southernmost province.The Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Republic of Dagestan said it had initiated a “terror investigation” into the attacks under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, CNN reported.

Attacks have been reported in churches, synagogues and a police traffic stop in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala, which are about 120km (75 miles) apart.

In a statement, the investigation directorate said, “All the circumstances of the incident and the persons involved in the terrorist attacks are being established, and their actions will be given a legal assessment.”

Among the dead are seven law enforcement officers, a priest and a church security guard, according to local authorities. Four “militants” have also been killed, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

“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,” Dagestan Public Monitoring Commission Chairman Shamil Khadulaev said.

He also said a security guard at the church armed with only a pistol was shot.

One of the law enforcement officers killed was the head of the “Dagestan Lights” police department, Mavludin Khidirnabiev, according to the Dagestan Ministry of Internal Affairs telegram.

At a church in Makhachkala, 19 people locked themselves in for safety during a shootout that ended with at least one attacker being killed, TASS reported citing the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Dagestan.

Meanwhile, a 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 seems 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 head of the Dagestan Republic, Sergey Melikov, has released a statement on Telegram. In the statement, He said 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.”

Melikov stated that the identities of the attackers are being established and an operational headquarters has been created and a plan for a counter-operation “Interception” is being carried out.

Calling on people to remain calm, Sergey Melikov said, “Panic and fear are what they were counting on in … They won’t get this from Dagestanis!”

The Israeli foreign ministry termed it “a combined attack” on the two synagogues. In the statement, the ministry said synagogues in Makhachkala and Derbent were attacked, the report said.

“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.

The statement reads, “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.” (ANI)

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