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3 Days Of Mourning After Orthodox Church Attack In Russia

Dagestan, a region in Russia’s North Caucasus, has declared three days of mourning after deadly attacks on religious sites and a police checkpoint. The attacks happened on Sunday during the Russian Orthodox Church’s Pentecost festival and killed 19 people, including 15 police officers and several civilians, one of whom was an Orthodox priest. Five of […]

Dagestan, a region in Russia’s North Caucasus, has declared three days of mourning after deadly attacks on religious sites and a police checkpoint. The attacks happened on Sunday during the Russian Orthodox Church’s Pentecost festival and killed 19 people, including 15 police officers and several civilians, one of whom was an Orthodox priest. Five of the attackers were also killed.

The violence took place in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala, it targeted two Orthodox churches, a synagogue which is a Jewish assembly building, and a police post. Videos and images on social media and Russian TV showed smoke and flames at the synagogue in Derbent which is a city with a historic Jewish community. Similar attacks took place in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, where the police checkpoint was also targeted.

The Russian Investigative Committee has started criminal investigations, calling the attacks “acts of terror.” In response, regional authorities declared a mourning period with flags at half-mast and the suspension of cultural and entertainment events. Governor Sergei Melikov expressed his condolences, calling it a tragic day for Dagestan and the whole country.

The attacks are believed to be the work of an “international terrorist organization,” even though the attackers’ identities are still unknown. The Russian news agency TASS, reported this possibility while local authorities are working to stabilize the situation and identify those who are responsible.

The attack on the synagogue in Derbent happened just before evening prayers started, causing major damage but no casualties. Meanwhile, in Makhachkala, 19 people took shelter in an Orthodox church during the assault and were safely evacuated by police. The Russian Orthodox Church is mourning Archpriest Nikolai Kotelnikov, who was killed in Derbent.

These coordinated attacks on civilian and religious sites are unusual in Dagestan, which has experienced infrequent violence but nothing this severe since the conflicts in neighboring Chechnya during the 1990s and early 2000s.

These attacks occurred a few months after a deadly assault at a Moscow rock concert as claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP). Authorities are considering if the same or similar groups were involved in the Dagestan attacks. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) had previously arrested people in Dagestan for links to the Moscow concert attack, showing ongoing security issues.

Both the international community and local authorities are watching the situation closely. Dagestan’s internal affairs ministry and security services are working to restore order and prevent more violence. The mourning period allows the community to grieve and strengthens efforts to fight terrorism and protect civilians.

 

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