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Over 15 Russian Police Officers, Civilians Killed in Attacks on Synagogues, Churches in Dagestan

Gunmen on Sunday, June 23, attacked synagogues, churches, and a police checkpoint in Russia’s Dagestan, killing over 15 police officers and several civilians in the North Caucasus region’s national guard, according to the governor.

The seemingly coordinated attacks were carried out at two synagogues and two churches in Derbent and Makhachkala in Dagestan, a largely Muslim region of Russia neighboring Chechnya. Derbent is home to an ancient Jewish community and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Among the slain civilians was an archpriest the Russian Orthodox Church said identified as Nikolai Kotelnikov, who was “brutally killed” in Derbent, where Russia’s National Guard said one of its officers was killed and several others wounded. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were declared days of mourning in the region.

The Anti-Terrorist Committee said five gunmen were “eliminated” after local authorities declared a counter-terror operation. Governor Sergei Melikov said six “bandits” had been “liquidated.” The conflicting numbers couldn’t be immediately reconciled and it wasn’t clear how many assailants were involved in the attacks.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday evening that shots were fired at a synagogue in Derbent and a synagogue in Makhachkala. The rabbi of Makhachkala, Rami Davidov, said that no one was killed or injured there. The Russian Jewish Congress said on its website the Derbent synagogue was attacked about 40 minutes before evening prayers. (TOI / VFI News)

“God, we pray in Yeshua’s name for the families of the 15 people who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks in Russia. We send our heartfelt condolences to them and we pray that You give them comfort and peace. We pray that You help them navigate this difficult period through Your love and the assurance that You will take care of everything as always. We pray for the Jewish and Christian communities in Russia and all over the world and we ask that You prevent such heinous attacks in the future.”