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Update: At least 15 police officers, 4 civilians reportedly killed in terrorist attack in Russia's Dagestan Republic

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 23, 2024 9:36 PM  (Updated: ) 2 min read
A screenshot from a video circulating online, allegedly showing a police car burned down following an attack by gunmen in downtown Derbent, Russia's Dagestan Republic, on June 23, 2024. (Screenshot)
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Editor's Note: This is a developing story and is being updated.

At least 15 police officers and four civilians were killing in a terrorist attack in Russia's Dagestan Republic on June 23, said Russia's Investigate Committee (Sledcom).  

The attacks occurred in Dagestan's capital and largest city, Makhachkala, and Derbent, a city located near the border with Azerbaijan.

A counterterrorism regime was instituted on June 23 after militants allegedly fired on a synagogue, two churches, and a police post in Russia's Dagestan Republic, according to local authorities.

A 66-year-old priest, identified as Father Nikolay, was also killed.

Melikov said that six terrorists had been "eliminated," while Sledcom said on June 24 that five had been killed.

Roadblocks were instituted, and shooting could be heard in the evening, according to Russian media outlet Meduza.

Russian state news agencies posted videos of a synagogue in Derbent engulfed in flames.

The Kyiv Independent couldn't independently verify these claims.

The Russian Investigative Committee, the country's main federal investigative body, said it had opened a terrorism investigation in response to the attacks and that investigators were present on the scene.

Dagestan is a multi-ethnic, majority-Muslim republic located in Russia's North Caucasus region. It is also home to an ancient Jewish community whose numbers have dwindled in recent decades.

As part of the spillover from the wars in Chechnya, Dagestan saw repeated acts of terrorism in the early 2000s. A violent but low-intensity insurgency against the government also went on for several years in the area.

Following the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas in October 2023, a massive antisemitic riot occurred in Makhachkala in late October.

A group of over 1,000 people came to Makhachkala Airport as a flight from Tel Aviv was set to land, reportedly looking for Jews.

Video footage from the event shows hundreds of protesters, some carrying Palestinian flags, stopping cars, entering the airfield, and causing disruption inside the airport.

More than 20 people were injured, with at least 10 suffering moderate to serious injuries. Both civilians and police officers required medical attention.

Russia's aviation authority temporarily closed the airport as a result of the unrest.

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