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Tragic Loss in Dagestan: Priest and Police Officer Killed by Gunmen

On June 24 (City Telegraph) Russia’s Dagestan started a three-day mourning period following the tragic events of Sunday. Gunmen killed several police officers, an Orthodox priest, and numerous others in attacks on synagogues and churches across two cities in the North Caucasus region.

“This is a day of tragedy for Dagestan and the whole country,” Sergei Melikov, the governor of the Dagestan region, announced in a video posted early Monday on the Telegram messaging app.

The total number of fatalities from the simultaneous attacks in the cities of Makhachkala and Derbent remains unclear.

Melikov said more than 15 police officers “fell victim” to what he said was a “terrorist attack”,” but he did not specify how many of the police were killed and how many were injured. Russia’s Interfax agency reported at least 15 police officers were killed.

The attacks occurred three months after an assault on a concert hall near Moscow, claimed by the Islamic State, which resulted in the deaths of 145 people—Russia’s deadliest attack in years.

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No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks in the volatile North Caucasus region.

“We understand who is behind the organization of the terrorist attacks and what goal they pursued,” Melikov said, without disclosing further details. The search for the gunmen will continue until all of them are identified, he added.

Russian state media reported that law enforcement officials indicated two sons of the head of the Sergokala district in central Dagestan were among the attackers and had been detained by investigators.

Melikov stated that several civilians were among the deceased, including an Orthodox priest who had served in Derbent for over 40 years. The priest, Nikolai Kotelnikov, was “brutally murdered”, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church said on Telegram.

Melikov reported that six of the gunmen were killed during the incidents, while Russian state news agencies, citing the National Anti-Terrorist Committee, reported that five gunmen had been killed.

City Telegraph could not independently confirm the number of casualties or attackers in the incidents. According to Melikov, June 24-26 have been designated as days of mourning in Dagestan, with flags at half-mast and the cancellation of all entertainment events.

JOSH WALSH
JOSH WALSHhttps://citytelegraph.com/
Josh has a knack for delivering insightful analysis and breaking news that keeps readers informed and engaged. He strives to provide balanced and accurate reporting, navigating complex issues with clarity and depth. His work has been featured in reputable publications worldwide, reflecting his commitment to journalistic excellence and integrity.

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