At least 9 killed and 24 injured after gunmen attack synagogues, church and police station in Russia (VIDEOs)

Wednesday, June 26, 2024 - At least nine people have been killed and 25 injured in what appears to be coordinated attacks by gunmen in Russia’s southernmost Dagestan province, local authorities say.

Several reports indicate attacks in churches, synagogues and a police traffic stop in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala, which are about 120km (75 miles) apart.

At a church in Makhachkala, 19 people locked themselves in for safety during a shootout that ended with at least one attacker being killed, TASS reported citing the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Dagestan.

Also, a synagogue in Derbent was set on fire with photos showing large flames and plumes of smoke billowing heavily out of a series of windows on at least one floor of the structure.

The Israeli foreign ministry described what it said was “a combined attack” on the two synagogues.

“The synagogue in Derbent was set on fire and burned to the ground. Local guards were killed. The synagogue in Makhachkala was attacked by gunfire, there are no further details,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“As far as is known, there were no worshipers in the synagogues at the time of the attack, and there are no known casualties from the Jewish community,” according to the statement.

7 law enforcement officers, a priest and a church security guard are dead, according to local authorities. Four “militants” have also been killed, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

“According to the information I received, Father Nikolay was killed in the church in Derbent, they slit his throat. He was 66 years old and very ill,” Dagestan Public Monitoring Commission Chairman Shamil Khadulaev said.

He also said a security guard at the church armed with only a pistol was shot.

One of the law enforcement officers killed was the head of the “Dagestan Lights” police department, Mavludin Khidirnabiev, according to the Dagestan Ministry of Internal Affairs telegram.

Attacks were also reported at a synagogue in Makhachkala and a police traffic post in Makhachkala.

Head of Dagestan Republic, Melikov said the identities of the attackers are being established, an operational headquarters has been set up and a plan for a counteroperation “Interception” is underway.

He urged the public to remain calm, saying “Panic and fear are what they were counting on in … They won’t get this from Dagestanis!”

“All the circumstances of the incident and the persons involved in the terrorist attacks are being established, and their actions will be given a legal assessment,” the investigative directorate statement reads.

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