06-23-2024, 6:18 PM

Attacks on a synagogue and a church in Dagestan result in the deaths of police officers and a priest

Attacks on a synagogue and a church in Dagestan - Video Screenshot

At least nine people have died and 25 have been injured in what seem to be coordinated attacks by gunmen in the Dagestan province in southern Russia, as reported by local authorities.

Multiple attacks occurred at various places of worship and a police traffic checkpoint in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala, located approximately 120km (75 miles) apart.

The targeted sites include places of worship and a traffic police station in both Derbent and Makhachkala. The initial reports of gunfire came around 7 p.m. Moscow time.

In Derbent, both a synagogue and a church were attacked. This city is notable for its ancient Jewish community within the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus region.

The fatalities included seven law enforcement officers, a priest, and a church security guard, as stated by local officials. One of the deceased officers was the chief of the "Dagestan Lights" police department.

The synagogue in Derbent was assaulted 40 minutes after the evening prayer, according to the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC). During the attack, Molotov cocktails were thrown, setting the building ablaze, while police and security guards were killed outside.

In a later shoot-out, four attackers were killed, as per Russian news outlets citing the local interior ministry. The news agency TASS reported that the attackers were identified as members of "an international terrorist organization" by law enforcement.

The Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Republic of Dagestan has initiated a terrorism investigation under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

“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,” the investigative directorate statement reads.

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