Over 15 Killed in Dagestan, Russia, as Gunmen Attack Multiple Sites

At least nine people were killed and 25 injured in coordinated attacks by gunmen in multiple places of worship at Dagestan within Russia’s southernmost province.

Dagestan has launched a “terror investigation” into the attacks

In light of the incident, the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Republic of Dagestan has launched a “terror investigation” into the attacks.

According to reports, the attacks targeted churches, synagogues, and a police traffic stop in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala, which are about 120 km (75 miles) apart. The investigation directorate stated, “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.”

Among the dead are seven police officers, a priest, and a church security guard. Four militants were also killed, as reported by the Russian news agency TASS. Dagestan Public Monitoring Commission Chairman Shamil Khadulaev said, “Father Nikolay was killed in the church in Derbent; they slit his throat. He was 66 years old and very ill.” He added that a security guard at the church, armed only with a pistol, was shot.

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

Derbent Synagogue Set Ablaze

In Derbent, an ancient city known for its historic Jewish community, gunmen set fire to the local synagogue approximately 40 minutes before evening prayers. The blaze sent smoke and flames billowing into the sky, as shown in videos circulating on social media. “The synagogue in Derbent is on fire,” wrote Boruch Gorin, chairman of the public council of Russia’s Federation of Jewish Communities, on Telegram. Gorin confirmed the attack and expressed deep sorrow over the event.

Derbent Synagogue Set Ablaze

A synagogue in Derbent was set on fire, with photos showing large flames and heavy smoke billowing from the windows. Similarly, a synagogue and a police traffic post in Makhachkala also came under fire around the same time.

The head of the Dagestan Republic, Sergey Melikov, released a statement on Telegram, saying, “Unknown persons made attempts to destabilize the social situation. Dagestan police officers stood in their way. According to preliminary information, there are victims among them.” Melikov noted that the identities of the attackers are being established, an operational headquarters has been created, and a counter-operation plan, “Interception,” is being carried out. He urged people to remain calm, stating, “Panic and fear are what they were counting on… They won’t get this from Dagestanis!”

The Israeli foreign ministry described the incidents as a “combined attack” on the two synagogues. The ministry stated that synagogues in Makhachkala and Derbent were attacked.

“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 statement said. It added that, as far as is known, there were no worshipers in the synagogues at the time, and there are no known casualties from the Jewish community.

Earlier in April, Russia’s FSB security service reported that it had apprehended four individuals in Dagestan suspected of planning the deadly attack on Moscow’s Crocus City Hall concert venue in March, an incident claimed by the Islamic State group.

Militants originating from Dagestan have been known to travel to Syria to join the ranks of IS. In 2015, IS announced the establishment of a “franchise” in the North Caucasus region.

Dagestan is situated east of Chechnya, where Russian authorities engaged in intense conflicts with separatist forces in two brutal wars, first from 1994 to 1996 and then again from 1999 to 2000.

Following the suppression of Chechen insurgents, Russian authorities have grappled with an ongoing conflict against Islamist militants across the North Caucasus, resulting in numerous casualties among civilians and law enforcement personnel.

Alexander Harris

Alexander Harris - The Digital Bloodhound Alexander isn't your typical investigative journalist. He thrives in the digital world, scouring the web for hidden connections and leaked documents. An expert data analyst and coder, he builds intricate digital trails to expose fraud, cybercrime, and government overreach. Alexander Harris began his career as a journalist. He is one of the founders of the " Russian Oligarchs Tracker Unit ".

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