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Attackers kill 15 police officers and several civilians in Russia’s Dagestan, governor says

Gunmen opened fire at a synagogue, two Orthodox churches and a police post in Russia's North Caucasus region of Dagestan on Sunday, killing 15 police officers, the region's Interior Ministry was quoted as saying.

Authorities say gunmen fired on 2 Orthodox churches, a synagogue and a police post

Video obtained by Reuters shows building on fire after Dagestan attacks

12 hours ago

Duration 0:28

Thick plumes of smoke rose from a burning building in Derbent, a city in the southern Russian region of Dagestan, following a series of attacks. Reuters, which obtained the video, confirmed the location from the building configuration, colour and roof that match street and satellite imagery. The date was verified by local reports and corroborating videos from the same area. However, Reuters could not confirm which specific building was on fire.

More than 15 police officers and several civilians, including an Orthodox priest, were killed by armed militants in Russia's southern republic of Dagestan, Gov. Sergei Melikov said in a video statement early Monday.

The gunmen opened fire on two Orthodox churches, a synagogue and a police post in two cities on Sunday, according to the authorities.

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

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were declared days of mourning in the region.

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 five gunmen were "eliminated." The governor said six "bandits" had been "liquidated." The conflicting numbers couldn't be immediately reconciled, and it wasn't clear how many militants were involved in the attacks.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. The authorities 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.

Melikov, Dagestan's governor, said in the video statement that the situation in the region was under the control of law enforcement and local authorities, and he vowed that the investigation of the attacks will continue until "all the sleeping cells" of the militants are uncovered.

Emergency vehicles and other cars are seen on a street.

He claimed, without providing evidence, that the attacks might have been prepared from abroad and referred to what the Kremlin calls "the special military operation" in Ukraine in an apparent attempt to link the attacks to it.

In March, gunmen opened fire on a crowd at a concert hall in suburban Moscow, killing 145 people. An affiliate of ISIS, an al-Qaeda splinter group, claimed responsibility for the attack, but Russian officials also sought to link Ukraine to the attack without providing any evidence. Kyiv has vehemently denied any involvement.

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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