Dagestan, ISIS attacks an Orthodox church, killing five women

The attack carried out by a 22 year-old. Faithful targeted at the end of the Maslenitsa festival. Dagestan is a Muslim majority republic. In 2015 ISIS created the "Caucasian province" of the fundamentalist group.

Feb 20, 2018

MOSCOW: Five women have been killed in an attack by militants of the Islamic State in Russia. Yesterday afternoon, at the end of the Sunday service, an attacker armed with a shotgun opened fire on the faithful coming out of the Orthodox Church of Kizlyar, in the predominantly Islamic Caucasian Republic of Dagestan. The spokesman of the Orthodox Patriarch Kirill condemned the attack, calling it a "monstrous crime" that aims to "provoke conflict between Orthodox Christians and Muslims" in the North Caucasus.

Pavel, a local priest, told the RBK agency the moment of the attack: " We had finished the mass and were beginning to leave the church. A bearded man ran towards the church shouting 'Allahu Akbar' (God is greatest) and killed four people". Another five people were injured in the attack, including a policeman and a national guard soldier. The terrorist, identified as Khalil Khalilov, 22 and resident in the republic, was "eliminated" by the police.

The gesture was claimed by the ISIS fundamentalists, who published the news on Telegram, an online messaging platform, and then also on Amaq, the official communication organ of the Caliphate. The militant acted during the celebrations of the Maslenitsa, an Orthodox festival held in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine in the week preceding Lent.

The Republic of Dagestan, bordering Chechnya, is one of the poorest and most troubled regions of Russia. Numerous rebels fled to Syria to join the militants of the Islamic State. In 2015 ISIS announced that it had created a "Caucasian province" of its fundamentalist group in the region.--Asia News

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