ISIS Claims Responsibility for Russian Church Attack

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Illustrative picture. (Photo: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)
Illustrative picture. (Photo: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

At least five people were killed and four injured in a terrorist attack on a church in Russia on Sunday. The gunman fired on worshipers as they were leaving a service in the city of Kizlyar, Dagestan.

Police shot and killed the terrorist at the scene. Two officers were injured while returning fire. A priest at the church, Pavel Kalikin, told media many more people could have been killed if parishioners had not shut the church doors as soon as the first shots were heard.

Police identified 22-year old local resident Khalil Khalilov as the terrorist.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in name of its Caucasus Province (established in 2015). They made the announcement using their news agency Amaq.

The attack took place during the pre-Lent Maslenitsa festival.

Dagestan is a Muslim-majority region in the south of Russia by the Caspian Sea. Russian authorities have battled various terrorist groups on and off since jihadists invaded Dagestan from Chechnya in 1999. Since 2014 many of those groups and fighters have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Many counter-terror experts predict that with the loss of its central territories in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State will increase carrying out terrorist attacks worldwide.

Human Rights Watch says Russia has used excessive force and torture in clamping down on terror in Dagestan.



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