Gunmen in Russia’s Dagestan attack churches, synagogue and police post

Gunmen on Sunday attacked synagogues and churches in Russia's North Caucasus region of Dagestan, killing a priest, six police officers, and a member of the national guard, security officials said.

The attacks took place in Dagestan's largest city of Makhachkala and in the coastal city of Derbent, where gunfights were ongoing.

Russia's Investigative Committee said it had opened criminal probes over "acts of terror", while the hunt for the gunmen was ongoing.

Witnesses could hear shooting near a church in Makhachkala while shootouts were continuing in Derbent, the TASS state news agency reported. Dagestan's interior ministry said it had killed two of the gunmen in Makhachkala.

Sunday is a religious holiday in the Russian Orthodox Church called Pentecost Sunday. Dagestan is a largely Muslim region of Russia, neighbouring Chechnya.

"This evening in the cities of Derbent and Makhachkala armed attacks were carried out on two Orthodox churches, a synagogue and a police check-point," said the National Antiterrorism Committee in a statement to RIA Novosti news agency.

In all, six police officers had been killed and another 12 wounded in the attacks, the spokeswoman for Dagestan's interior ministry, Gayana Gariyeva, told RIA Novosti.

"They were confronted by Dagestani police officers."

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