Sunday July 14th, 2024 10:11PM

Armed militants in Dagestan kill priest and police in attacks on churches, synagogue and police post

By The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Armed militants attacked two Orthodox churches, a synagogue and a traffic police post in two cities in Russia’s southern republic of Dagestan, killing a priest and at least six police officers, Russian authorities reported Sunday.

Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee described the attacks in the predominantly Muslim region with a history of armed militancy as terrorist acts.

Dagestan's Interior Ministry said a group of armed men shot at a synagogue and a church in the city of Derbent, located on the Caspian Sea. Both the church and the synagogue caught fire, according to state media. Almost simultaneously, reports appeared about an attack on a church and a traffic police post in the Dagestan capital Makhachkala.

The authorities announced a counter-terrorist operation in the region. The Anti-Terrorist Committee said a priest and policemen were killed in the attacks. It later reported that five gunmen were “eliminated.” It wasn't clear, however, how many militants were involved in the attacks.

Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti cited the region's Interior Ministry as saying that six policemen were killed and 13 more were injured. Other reports said a church guard was also killed, and three civilians were also injured.

The Muftiate of Dagestan, a Muslim administrative body, put the total number of those killed at nine people, including seven policemen, and said that 25 more people were injured. The conflicting numbers couldn't be immediately reconciled.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. The authorities have launched a criminal probe on the charge of a terrorist act.

Russian state news agency Tass cited law enforcement sources as saying that a Dagestani official was detained over his sons' involvement in the attacks.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
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