Multiple law enforcement officers and a priest were killed in a series of violent attacks that took place in the Russian republic of Dagestan. The attacks, which seemed to be coordinated, occurred in the cities of Makhachkala and Derbent.

Gunmen targeted synagogues and churches in these two cities, resulting in the deaths of several police officers and a priest. The assailants, armed with rifles and Molotov cocktails, engaged in shootouts with law enforcement before six of them were ultimately killed.

The governor of Dagestan, Sergei Melikov, condemned the attacks as an assault on the region’s unity and diversity. While the exact number of casualties was not immediately confirmed, Governor Melikov stated that more than 15 police officers were affected by the terrorist attack, although it was unclear how many were killed versus wounded.

The motives behind the attacks and the identities of the gunmen remained unknown, with no group claiming responsibility for the violence. The Russian Investigative Committee initiated a terrorism investigation in response to the incident.

This violent episode is just the latest in a series of extremist acts that have plagued Russia, especially as the country is engaged in a conflict with Ukraine. Previous incidents include a mass shooting at a concert hall in Moscow, where 145 people were killed, and an antisemitic attack on a plane arriving from Tel Aviv in Dagestan.

The attacks highlight the ongoing threat of extremist violence in the region and raise concerns about the security and safety of religious institutions in Dagestan and beyond. It is essential for authorities to investigate these incidents thoroughly and take necessary measures to prevent future attacks on religious buildings and communities.