Home News Death toll in southern Russia attack rises to 19

Death toll in southern Russia attack rises to 19

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Russian investigators said on Monday that at least 15 law enforcement officers and four civilians were killed in two suspected coordinated attacks by gunmen in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan.

Attackers armed with rifles and Molotov cocktails attacked synagogues and Orthodox churches in two major cities in Dagestan, a Muslim-majority region on the Caspian Sea coast, late Sunday.

One of the civilians killed was pastor Nikolay Kotelnikov from the city of Derbent, where the attackers also set fire to a synagogue.

The gunmen were on the run for hours and engaged in a gun battle with law enforcement officers, according to a statement from the region’s interior ministry. Local officials said the five attackers were eventually shot dead.

Russian investigators have characterized the attack as an act of terrorism, but it is not yet clear who was responsible.

Local officials announced that the multi-religious, multi-ethnic region of Dagestan would enter a three-day mourning period and said the families of the victims would receive special compensation.

A Kremlin spokesman said Monday that President Vladimir Putin had received regular reports of the attack but that he did not plan to address the nation on the matter. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the gunman’s motives.

The attack was the latest in a string of extremist violence in Russia in recent months, highlighting the country’s continued War with neighboring Ukraine.

In March, four gunmen 145 people died in the concert hall An attack near Moscow was claimed by the Islamic State. Last October, in Dagestan, A group of thugs rushed in A plane arrives from Tel Aviv.

Russian officials sought to cover up intelligence failures in the Moscow concert hall attack by blaming the attack on the West and Ukraine without providing evidence. Initial statements by officials after Sunday’s attack suggested the government might use a similar tactic in Dagestan.

“We know who is behind these terrorist acts,” Dagestan’s top official, Sergei Melikov, said in a statement. address He told local residents that he compared the victims of the attack to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, saying they faced the same enemy.

“We need to understand that the war has come to our homes,” Mr. Melikov added.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, at his daily news conference on Monday, appeared to link the Dagestan violence to another Ukrainian attack on occupied Crimea on Sunday. But he did not directly blame Ukraine or the West for the Dagestan attack.

Russia’s Anti-Terrorism Committee, a body coordinating the country’s fight against terrorism, said in a statement that two attackers in Derbent had been killed and three others in Makhachkala had been killed. The committee said law enforcement officers were searching for accomplices.

Investigators have not revealed their identities and their motives are unclear.

The agency also released video The video, which could not be independently verified, showed burned cars, guns in pools of blood and heavily armed security personnel chasing the attacker inside an Orthodox church.

Melikov said the manhunt continued in the republic until “all members of dormant extremist cells” were captured, which “undoubtedly also prepared terrorists abroad.”

On Monday, he visited the site of the attack in Derbent. He walked through the hall of the local synagogue, which is home to one of Russia’s oldest Jewish communities. The main hall of the synagogue was reportedly burned in the attack. A video Released by the local government. The video also could not be independently verified.

Oleg Matznev Contributed to research.

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