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Wednesday, July 17, 2024  
10 Muharram 1446  

Orthodox priest, multiple police killed in gunmen attack in Russia’s North Caucasus, officials say

Six of the gunmen were shot and killed as the incidents unfolded
Photo via Reuters
Photo via Reuters

Gunmen opened fire at a synagogue, an Orthodox church and a police post in attacks across two cities in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Dagestan on Sunday, killing an Orthodox priest and multiple police officers, the region’s head said.

“This is a day of tragedy for Dagestan and the whole country,” Sergei Melikov, governor of the Dagestan region, said in a video published early on Monday on the Telegram messaging app.

Melikov said that more than 15 police officers “fell victim” to what he said was a “terrorist attack”,“ but he did not specify how many of the police were killed and how many were injured. Russia’s Interfax agency reported that at least 15 police officers were killed.

The simultaneous attacks across the cities of Makhachkala and Derbent came three months after 145 people were killed in an attack claimed by the Islamic State on a concert hall near Moscow, Russia’s worst terrorist attack in years.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks in the volatile North Caucasus region.

“We understand who is behind the organisation of the terrorist attacks and what goal they pursued,” Melikov said, without disclosing further details.

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Russia’s state media cited law enforcement as saying that among the attackers had been two sons of the head of central Dagestan’s Sergokala district, who had been detained by investigators.

Melikov said that among the dead, in addition to the police officers, were several civilians, including an Orthodox priest who worked in Derbent for more than 40 years. A spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church said on Telegram that the priest, Nikolai Kotelnikov, was “brutally murdered”.

Six of the gunmen were shot and killed as the incidents unfolded, Melikov said. Russian state news agencies cited the National Anti-Terrorist Committee as saying that five of the gunmen had been killed.

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