At least 20 People Murdered and 45 Injured in Mass Shootings at Churches and a Synagogue in Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan

Jun 25, 2024 | Mass Public Shootings

The picture above shows the murderers attacking people. Another mass murder by Muslims in Russia (a list of mass public shootings in the US by Muslims from 1998 to 2023 is available here). Some other recent mass public shootings in Russia are available here (where 145 people were murdered), here, here, and here.

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Attacks on police posts, churches and a synagogue in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan have left 20 people dead, most of them police officers. Five gunmen were also killed. 

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

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

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

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He was later identified as Father Nikolai Kotelnikov, who had served in Derbent for more than 40 years. 

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Russian media reported that around 18:00 (15:00 GMT) local time on Sunday, gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons on an Orthodox church and a synagogue in Derbent, which is home to an ancient Jewish community. Two gunmen were said to have then retreated into a nearby building, where police later said they were killed. The Kele-Numaz synagogue was severely damaged by fire.

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At around the same time, in the city of Makhachkala, two gunmen ran into an Orthodox church, tried to set fire to its main icon and then opened fire, Izvestia newspaper said. Videos on social media showed heavy shooting also taking place outside the church when gunmen dressed in black took aim at passing police cars with automatic weapons. . . .

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Henri Astier and Laura Gozzi, “Twenty dead in attacks on churches and synagogue in southern Russia,” BBC News, June 24, 2024.

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The immediate suspicion: links to radical Islam. After all, not long ago, Dagestan was a hotbed of Islamic extremism that had spilled over from neighbouring Chechnya. . . .

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Islamist attacks haven’t stopped. On several occasions the Islamic State group (IS) has claimed responsibility for attacks in Dagestan, including a shooting outside a church in the city of Kizlyar in 2018. . .

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Steve Rosenberg, “Russia pins Dagestan attack on Ukraine, ignoring religious tensions,” BBC, June 24, 2024.

johnrlott

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