Shooting in Dagestan: Gunmen in Russia kill seven police officers and a priest in ‘terror attack’

Gunmen have launched simultaneous attacks in the cities of Makhachkala and Derbent in Russia’s Dagestan region. killing at least eight police and National Guard officers and a priest, officials said.
What happened: The attacks took place on several churches, synagogues and a police checkpoint. According to reports, one synagogue was set on fire and a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church was murdered.
Police had killed four gunmen in Makhachkala and two in Derbent, while six officers were killed and 12 injured in what Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee has called “terrorist attacks.”
A local police chief and a National Guard officer were also reportedly killed.

The Russian Orthodox Church said its archpriest Nikolai Kotelnikov was “brutally murdered” in Derbent, while the Russian Jewish Congress said the Derbent synagogue was attacked about 40 minutes before evening prayers.

Gunmen shot at police and guards and threw Molotov cocktails inside, the Jewish organization said, adding that the attack in Makhachkala was similar.
Russia’s state news agency TASS quoted a law enforcement source as saying the attackers were “supporters of an international terrorist organization,” without naming them.
No group has taken responsibility for the attacks.
The most important quote: “Tonight, unknown (attackers) in Derbent and Makhachkala made attempts to destabilize the situation in society.” — Sergei Melikov, leader of Dagestan.
What else you need to know: Dagestan is located east of Chechnya, where Russian authorities waged two brutal wars against separatists, first in 1994-1996 and then in 1999-2000.
Since the defeat of Chechen rebels, Russian authorities have been engaged in a simmering conflict with Islamist militants from across the North Caucasus, killing dozens of civilians and police officers.

What happens now: Russia’s Investigative Committee said it has opened criminal investigations into the attacks.

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