Orthodox churches targeted, anti-terrorist operation, five attackers killed… What we know about the attack which left at least 19 dead in Russia

Orthodox churches targeted, anti-terrorist operation, five attackers killed… What we know about the attack which left at least 19 dead in Russia
Orthodox churches targeted, anti-terrorist operation, five attackers killed… What we know about the attack which left at least 19 dead in Russia

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Armed men attacked Orthodox churches, synagogues and a police station on Sunday June 23 in Dagestan, southwest Russia. At least nineteen people, including an Orthodox priest, were killed according to a latest report. A three-day national mourning was declared.

Armed men attacked synagogues and Orthodox churches in the Russian Caucasus on Sunday, killing at least nineteen people, including a priest and police officers, authorities announced, denouncing “terrorist” acts.

Orthodox churches and police station targeted

Sunday’s attacks targeted “two Orthodox churches, a synagogue and a police checkpoint”, announced the Russian Anti-Terrorism Committee, cited by the Ria Novosti agency. Jewish representatives, including the Russian Jewish Congress, said a second synagogue was also attacked.

Synagogues in Derbent and Makhachkala were burned, according to the chairman of the public council of Jewish communities of the Russian Federation, Boruch Gorin. Images, taken up by the Russian media, showed a burning building, presented as a synagogue, published the Tass press service.

In other videos, gunshots could be heard in the streets of Makhachkala, where a large police force was deployed.

At least nineteen victims

The toll of eight deaths initially announced by the authorities quickly increased. At least 15 police officers were killed in the attacks, regional leader Sergei Melikov said in a video published overnight from Sunday to Monday on Telegram. They “protected the civilian inhabitants […] at the cost of their lives,” he stressed. The authorities’ initial toll was that eight police officers and a priest were killed in the attacks.

A 66-year-old Russian Orthodox Church priest was killed in Derbent, authorities said. The latest report published on Monday morning also deplores the death of four civilians.

A predominantly Muslim region

The attacks took place in the capital of the Russian republic of Dagestan, Makhachkala, and the coastal city of Derbent. Dagestan is a predominantly Muslim Russian region neighboring Chechnya, also close to Georgia and Azerbaijan. Anti-terrorist operations are regularly announced there by the Russian authorities.

Attackers killed during anti-terrorist operation

The anti-terrorist operation launched immediately after the attack in the Russian republic of Dagestan in the Caucasus has ended, the Russian Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) said on Monday. During the anti-terrorist operation which ended Monday morning, “five people” were “liquidated. Their identity was established”, they added, without specifying whether the attackers were still on the run or not. “Operational, search and investigation operations will continue until the detection of all members of the sleeper cells, which were prepared in particular from abroad,” Sergei Melikov told the Tass agency.

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