Terror in Russia: Gunmen open fire at synagogue and Orthodox churches killing 15 police officers

23 June 2024, 21:19 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 06:17

Terror in Russia: Gunmen open fire at two synagogues killing six police before slitting priest's throat at Orthodox Church
Terror in Russia: Gunmen open fire at two synagogues killing fifteen police before slitting priest's throat at Orthodox Church. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle de Wolfe

Gunmen in Russia have opened fire on a synagogue, an Orthodox church and a police post as part of a series of synchronised attacks across the south of the country.

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It's understood five attackers - who were targeting places of worship - were shot and killed by authorities.

According to local media, the attacks, which are thought to be terror related, took place at a synagogue and an Orthodox church in Derbent, followed by an attack at a police post in Makhachkala.

15 police officers and the priest are reported to have died in the attacks, with the attackers reported to have slit the throat of a respected priest.

Local news agencies said gunfire had been exchanged in the centre of Makhachkala, a region of coastline on the Caspian Sea.

This photo taken from video released by Golos Dagestana shows smoke rises following an attack in Makhachkala, republic of Dagestan, Russia, Sunday
This photo taken from video released by Golos Dagestana shows smoke rises following an attack in Makhachkala, republic of Dagestan, Russia, Sunday. Picture: Alamy

The gunmen attacked a synagogue, which was set alight, in the regional capital Makhachkala - a Jewish hub that sits at the centre of a predominantly Muslim region.

Smoke could be seen bellowing from the religious building, while another was set on fire around 80 miles away, in Russia's southernmost city.

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According to Russian state media, the attackers also shot at two nearby Orthodox churches.

The church attacks are thought to have killed a police officer and a priest.

The priest, who has been named locally as 66-year-old Father Nikolai Kotelnikov, had served in Derbent for more than 40 years.

As part of the attack, the as yet unknown individuals are said to have opened fire at the religious sites, as well as a police station, across the tinderbox region of Dagestan.

The region borders the neighbouring nations of Georgia and Azerbaijan.

The site in Derbent is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Interior Ministry has been quoted as saying that both the synagogue and church were set ablaze by the gunment.

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