Nineteen dead in attacks on churches and synagogue in southern Russia

BBC.com reports: “Attacks on police posts, churches and a synagogue in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan have left 19 police officers and several civilians dead. Six gunmen were also killed.

The apparently coordinated attacks targeted the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala on the Orthodox festival of Pentecost.

The assailants have not been officially identified, but Dagestan has in the past been the scene of Islamist attacks.

The republic’s head, Sergei Melikov, said it was understood who was behind the organisation of the attacks, without giving details.

Two churches and a synagogue were targeted in Sunday’s attacks, as well as a police post in Makhachkala, Dagestan’s largest city. An Orthodox Church priest was among those killed.

Mr Melikov said several civilians had lost their life, including a priest, Father Nikolai Kotelnikov, who he said had served in Derbent for more than 40 years.

Mr Melikov announced that three days of mourning would begin on Monday.

The gunmen have not yet been officially identified, but in a video on Telegram, Mr Melikov said their attack had been prepared abroad and that Dagestan was now directly involved in Russia’s war in Ukraine…”

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