Written by 23:20 World

Death Toll in Dagestan Church and Synagogue Attacks Rises, Officials Say

A deadly attack on a police station and places of worship in southern Russia on Sunday raised the specter of a new wave of violence in the country’s restive Northern Caucasus region and underlined the mounting security challenges facing the Kremlin amid the demands of the war in Ukraine.

A seemingly coordinated assault by gunmen in the two largest cities of the Dagestan region, which left at least 20 people dead, was the deadliest attack in the region in 14 years. It evoked memories of the intense violence that had gripped Russia’s predominantly Muslim region in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

That violence was caused by a combination of Islamic fundamentalism and organized crime. Suppressing it became one of the central bragging points for President Vladimir V. Putin after he came to power in 1999.

That legacy is now at risk of being undermined by a new spate of extremist violence.

In March, four gunmen killed 145 people at a concert hall near Moscow in an attack claimed by the Islamic State. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Russia in more than a decade, and was carried out despite the fact that the United States provided Russia a fairly detailed warning of the plot.

In Dagestan in October, a mob, apparently searching for Jewish passengers, stormed a plane arriving from Tel Aviv.

And earlier this month, several men detained on terrorist charges led a short-lived prison mutiny in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. The mutineers took guards hostage and published videos — unverified — claiming affinity with the Islamic State, before being gunned down by security forces.

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Last modified: 24 June 2024
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