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Anti-Semitic riots in Dagestan leave 20 injured, governor blames external forces and “enemies of Russia”

The head of Dagestan, Sergey Melikov, called yesterday’s anti-Semitic riots at Makhachkala airport “an attempt to destabilise the situation” in the region. According to Melikov, the riots were supervised from abroad, including through “pro-Ukrainian Telegram channels.”

“Attempts to destabilise the situation in Dagestan, including with the use of prohibited techniques related to inflaming inter-ethnic discord, inter-confessional problems, are carried out by our enemies, enemies of our country,” he said.

Melikov also claimed that the authorities had received “reliable information” that the channel Utro Dagestana, which called for violence, was administered from Ukraine by people “who hate the traditional things that the region lives by.” Earlier, the channel “swore by Allah” that it had nothing to do with Ukraine and condemned President Volodymyr Zelensky for supporting Israel.

Meanwhile, the Russian Interior Ministry's Department for the North Caucasus Federal District has identified 150 people who took an active part in the riots. 60 of them have been detained. According to the latest data, nine policemen were injured in the riots, with two of them hospitalised.

The Russian Investigative Committee’s branch in Dagestan has launched a “mass rioting” case in connection with the unrest.

On the evening of 28 October in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt, a crowd of several hundred local residents came to the Flamingo hotel demanding the eviction of Israeli refugees that were allegedly staying there.

They responded to a call by the Telegram channel Utro Dagestana based on a video of a Jewish person wearing a kippah walking around the hotel. The channel then published a call to “identify and smoke out” the “yahuds,” as all Jews, including women, “served in the [Israeli] army” and allegedly “abused, tortured and tormented” Palestinians, who were described in the channel as “brothers” of Dagestanis.

Police officers who arrived at the scene then led several people into the hotel building to show that it was empty of anyone but Russian tourists. The crowd later dispersed.

A sign hung on the hotel entrance after the demonstration read: “ENTRANCE STRICTLY PROHIBITED for foreign citizens of ISRAEL (JEWS)!!! (AND THEY AREN’T STAYING HERE!!!!!)”

The following evening, a crowd of anti-Semitic rioters stormed the airport in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, ahead of the arrival of a flight from Tel Aviv. The riot occurred after messages circulated on Telegram calling on people to come to the airport and search vehicles for “refugees from Israel.” Rioters stopped vehicles leaving the airport, checked passengers’ passports, and later broke into the airport building.

Later, some of the protesters ran onto the runway and attempted to get to the plane that had arrived from Tel Aviv.

The Ministry of Health of Dagestan reported that over 20 people were injured as a result of yesterday’s clashes between rioters and police officers at Makhachkala airport. Ten of them are being treated in different hospitals in the city, while two are in serious condition. Ten others sustained light injuries.

Shortly after the Dagestani authorities claimed that the situation at Makhachkala airport was “under control,” Telegram channels circulated videos showing a huge crowd of people who had entered the runway. In the video, gunfire can be heard and the rioters can be seen pelting police officers with stones.

During the riots, a female passenger on a flight from Dubai to Makhachkala flight posted a video saying they had been on board the aircraft at the airport for over three hours with no food or doctor on board. Telegram channel Baza later reported that the plane had been “towed away” and the passengers had been placed in a hotel.

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