15 Russians Dead In Dagestan Militant Attack

15 Russians Dead In Dagestan Militant Attack

Militants Kill Over 15 Police Officers and Civilians in Dagestan, Russia

In a harrowing series of attacks, more than 15 police officers and several civilians, including an Orthodox priest, were killed by armed militants in Russia's southern republic of Dagestan, according to a video statement by Governor Sergei Melikov.

The militants launched coordinated assaults on two Orthodox churches, a synagogue, and a police post in two cities on Sunday, as reported by authorities. The National Anti-Terrorist Committee described these incidents in the predominantly Muslim region with a history of armed insurgency as terrorist acts.

In response to the tragedy, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were declared days of mourning in Dagestan.

The Interior Ministry of Dagestan stated that a group of armed men targeted a synagogue and a church in the city of Derbent on the Caspian Sea, resulting in both buildings catching fire. Simultaneously, there were reports of an attack on another church and a traffic police post in the Dagestan capital, Makhachkala.

Authorities swiftly announced a counter-terrorist operation, although conflicting reports emerged about the number of militants involved. The Anti-Terrorist Committee claimed five gunmen were "eliminated," while the governor reported that six "bandits" had been "liquidated."

A criminal investigation has been launched on charges of a terrorist act, though no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks has been made. Russian state news agency Tass cited law enforcement sources stating a Dagestani official had been detained due to his sons' involvement in the attacks.

In his video statement on Monday, Governor Melikov assured that the situation was under the control of law enforcement and local authorities. He pledged that the investigation would continue until all militant "sleeping cells" were uncovered. Without providing evidence, he suggested that the attacks might have been orchestrated from abroad, referencing what the Kremlin calls "the special military operation" in Ukraine to imply a possible connection.

This incident follows a similar attack in March, where gunmen killed 145 people at a concert hall in suburban Moscow. An affiliate of the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack, though Russian officials also attempted to link Ukraine to the incident without presenting evidence. Kyiv has strongly denied any involvement.

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