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20 Dead in Attacks on Churches and Synagogue in Russia

Attacks on police posts, churches and a synagogue in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan have left 20 people and five gunmen dead.

At least 46 people were taken to hospital with injuries after the Sunday evening attack.

Three days of mourning have been declared in Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in southern Russia which neighbours Chechnya.

The apparently coordinated attacks targeted the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala on the Orthodox festival of Pentecost, with an Orthodox priest among those killed.

He was later identified by the head of the Republic of Dagestan, Sergei Melikov, as Father Nikolai Kotelnikov, who had served in Derbent for more than 40 years.

In a series of attacks on Sunday night, gunmen attacked a church and a synagogue in Derbent, which is home to an ancient Jewish community.

In Dagestan’s largest city, Makhachkala, a church and a police post near a synagogue were attacked.

Footage posted on social media showed people wearing dark clothes shooting at police cars in Makhachkala, before a convoy of emergency service vehicles arrive at the scene.

Dagestan has in the past been the scene of Islamist attacks.

Although the assailants have not been officially identified, Russian media widely reported that among the gunmen were two sons of the head of the Sergokala district, Magomed Omarov, who was detained by police.

However, in a video posted on Telegram, Mr Melikov implied Ukraine had been involved in the attack and that Dagestan was now directly involved in Russia’s war in Ukraine.


Source: BBC

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