Russia's Dagestan church terror attack: what we know so far
The man who carried out a shooting attack on a Kizlyar Orthodox church in Russia's Dagestan was identified as Khalil Khalilov, 22, ISIS terrorist group member, coming from the Tarumovsky District of Dagestan.
On Sunday, an armed man opened gunfire at people leaving an Orthodox church in Kizlyar, killing five and wounding four people, including police and National Guard officers. The gunman was shot dead by the police while trying to flee the scene.
Four people remain hospitalized, the chief doctor of a local hospital Kazanfar Kurbanov said. "The victims remain in the same condition, two women are seriously injured, and they are in intensive care. A police officer and a Rosgvardiya fighter are in moderately severe condition," TASS cited Kurbanov as saying.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, was "stunned" by the attack in Kizlyar and demanded the most thorough investigation of the incident, Patriarch’s spokesman, priest Aleksandr Volkov, said.
"The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church considers this monstrous crime, committed on the eve of the Great Lent, a provocation aimed at instigating confrontation between Orthodoxs and Muslims, who have been coexisting peacefully for ages in the Caucasus," the spokesman wrote on Telegram page.
Dagestan’s Muslim Spiritual Authority has called the shooting a "tragedy," saying that it condemns all manifestations of violence. "We express our most sincere condolences to the relatives of those who were killed or injured," the Muftiyat said in a statement.
Russian Presidential Envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District Oleg Belaventsev said that those behind the shooting attack will receive the punishment they deserve.
"Law enforcement agencies will take comprehensive measures to establish those behind this horrific and cynical crime. The crime’s masterminds, as well as its perpetrators and their accomplices, will receive the punishment they deserve," he said.
"It is impossible to justify this action and I would like to point out that no destructive forces, no matter what ideas they hide behind and what guise they take, will succeed in creating discord between followers of different religions in the North Caucasus," Belaventsev stressed.
The envoy offered condolences to the families and friends of the victims. "I wish a speedy recovery to those wounded. Assistance will be provided to the families of the killed and wounded," he added.
The head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov also conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims. He also said that the attacker has no connection to Islam.
"One can say with certainty that the bandit and his patrons, in case he had any, do not have any direct or indirect connection to Islam. The North Caucasus has always been a region of close cooperation and mutual understanding between Muslims and Christians. So today, it is our duty to deter assaults on our heritage that instigators and Russia’s enemies may make," Kadyrov wrote on Telegram.
According to him, it is important to find out who encouraged the shooter to carry out the attack. "Those linked to him deserve to be severely punished," Kadyrov stressed.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the shooting incident in Russia’s Dagestan region. "The killing of innocent worshipers in holy places... is the mark of groups who would do anything to spread fear and hatred throughout the world," PressTV cited Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi as saying