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June 23, 2024

Gunmen kill priest, six police officers in attacks on synagogue, church in Russia

Gunmen kill priest, six police officers in attacks on synagogue, church in Russia

A synagogue, an Orthodox church and a police post were targeted by gunmen in a coordinated series of attacks in Russia’s southernmost Dagestan province on Sunday night.

Local reports citing the province’s interior ministry said at least six police officers have been killed and 12 others wounded.

The attacks took place in Dagestan’s largest city, Makhachkala, and in the coastal city of Derbent.

A 66-year-old Russian Orthodox priest was also killed in the attacks, the spokeswoman for Dagestan’s interior ministry, Gayana Gariyeva, told RIA Novosti.

Two of the gunmen have reportedly been killed.

A counter-terrorist operation is underway in Makhachkala and Derbet as officials search for the gunmen, Russia’s national anti-terrorist committee said in a statement.

“Unidentified people fired at a synagogue and a church with automatic weapons,” Reuters reported the region’s interior ministry as saying. “One police officer was killed and one injured.”

The interior ministry was also quoted as saying a synagogue and an Orthodox church, both targets of the attacks, had been set ablaze, Reuters reported. The attackers reportedly fled in a car.

In Makhachkala, which is about 75 miles to the north along the Caspian Sea coast, a second police officer was killed in an exchange of shots at a police post, local media reported.

Borush Gorin, the chairman of the public council of Russia’s Federation of Jewish Communities, wrote on Telegram that the synagogue in Makhachkala was also set on fire, AFP reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but some officials in Dagestan blamed Ukraine and NATO.