The Death Toll In The Russian Terror Attack Has Risen To 16 Following Gunmen’s Assault On Religious Sites In Southern Russia

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The Death Toll In The Russian Terror Attack Has Risen To 16 Following Gunmen's Assault On Religious Sites In Southern Russia

Several coordinated attacks unfolded in various locations across Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim region of Russia bordering Georgia and Azerbaijan.

In the regional capital Makhachkala, a synagogue was set ablaze, while in Derbent, the southernmost city approximately 80 miles further south, another group of assailants targeted a second synagogue.

Additionally, gunmen attacked an Orthodox church in Derbent, reportedly fatally injuring 66-year-old Father Nikolai Kotelnikov, who had served the community for over 40 years.

Authorities launched a counter-terrorist operation in response to the incidents, although there was uncertainty regarding the number of militants involved. The Anti-Terrorist Committee reported that five gunmen were neutralized, while the governor stated that six “bandits” had been eliminated.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, prompting a criminal investigation into the terrorist act. However, it was revealed that Magomed Omarov, the head of Dagestan’s Sergokalinsky district, was arrested after his son was implicated in the attacks.

The synagogue attacked in Derbent is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Boruch Gorin, chairman of the public council of Russia’s Federation of Jewish Communities, reported that the synagogue in Makhachkala was also set on fire and destroyed.

Firefighters in Derbent were instructed to withdraw from the burning synagogue due to concerns that terrorists might still be inside.

In a video statement, Dagestan’s regional governor Sergei Melikov assured the public that law enforcement and local authorities had the situation under control. He pledged to continue the investigation until all militant cells in the region were exposed.

Melikov suggested, without evidence, that the attacks may have been orchestrated from abroad, referencing Russia’s military operations in Ukraine.

This update followed his earlier announcement that unidentified individuals had attempted to destabilize public order in Derbent and Makhachkala, resulting in casualties.

These attacks on religious sites in Dagestan occurred shortly after a deadly terrorist incident in Moscow claimed nearly 145 lives.

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