At least five churchgoers killed in Russia's Dagestan

At least five shot dead in attack on church in Russia's Dagestan
2 min read
18 February, 2018
Five people have been confirmed killed in an attack on a church in Kizlyar, Dagestan on Sunday.
Dagestan is home to a multitude of ethnic and religious groups [Getty]
Five civilians, including four women, were shot dead in an attack on an Orthodox church in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan on Sunday, officials and local media said.

According to local press reports, an unidentified gunman fired at worshippers at an Orthodox church in the town of Kizlyar, in Russia's majority Muslim region of Dagestan.

"An unknown man opened fire with hunting rifle in Kizlyar, fatally wounding four women," the regional internal affairs ministry said in a statement.

A Russian police officer and a local resident were injured in the attack.

The attacker was "eliminated" by police fire, the statement added.

According to a local official the assailant was a local man in his early twenties, the Interfax news agency reported.

The Russian RBK daily quoted an Orthodox priest saying the attacker had opened fire on churchgoers following an afternoon service.

"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 people," Father Pavel told RBK.

"He was carrying a rifle and a knife," he added.

Another civilian was later reported to have died from his wounds in hospital.

Dagestan, bordering Chechnya, is one of the poorest and most turbulent regions of Russia and has struggled for years against an Islamist insurgency.

It is often the scene of attacks, some claimed by the Islamic State group.