Terrorist Attacks in Russia's Dagestan: Gunmen Target Synagogue and Church, Killing Police

World » RUSSIA | June 24, 2024, Monday // 09:39
Bulgaria: Terrorist Attacks in Russia's Dagestan: Gunmen Target Synagogue and Church, Killing Police

Last night, over 15 police officers were killed in a series of attacks in Dagestan, a southern Russian region, according to reports from Russian news agencies. The attacks, which also caused civilian casualties, occurred simultaneously in two cities on June 23. Gunmen targeted a synagogue, an Orthodox church, and a police post.

The perpetrators, reportedly five gunmen, were killed during the attacks, stated Russia's National Anti-Terrorism Committee, as reported by Russian news agencies. The assault follows a major terror incident three months ago when 145 people died in an attack at a concert hall near Moscow, claimed by the Islamic State, marking one of Russia's deadliest attacks in recent years.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the Dagestan attacks. State news agency TASS quoted law enforcement authorities indicating that two sons of the head of the Sergokalinsky district in Central Dagestan were among the assailants, with one detained by investigators.

During the attacks, four gunmen were killed by security forces, with another assailant reportedly killed in a shootout at a church in Makhachkala, Dagestan's capital, where an Orthodox priest also lost his life.

Dagestan has faced an Islamist insurgency since the early 2000s, stemming from neighboring Chechnya, prompting robust counterinsurgency efforts by Russian security forces. While attacks have decreased in recent years, Russia's Federal Security Service claimed success in quelling insurgents in 2017.

Authorities closed exits from Makhachkala as they pursue the remaining assailants who may attempt to flee the city, stated Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs. Approximately 125 kilometers south in Derbent, gunmen attacked a synagogue and a church, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Officials reported fires at the synagogue and church and confirmed the deaths of two attackers.

The head of Dagestan's regional government vowed severe punishment for those responsible, condemning the attacks as heinous acts. Meanwhile, Israel's foreign ministry confirmed damage to a synagogue in Derbent, stating shots were fired at another synagogue in Makhachkala, but no worshippers were present at the time.

Previous incidents in the region have been attributed to militant Islamist groups, according to Reuters. Last October, during the Gaza conflict, rioters reportedly stormed Makhachkala airport in search of Jewish passengers arriving from Tel Aviv, an event that led Russian President Vladimir Putin to accuse Western nations and Ukraine of inciting unrest in Russia.

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Tags: Dagestan, Russian, gunmen, attacks

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