‘Soldier of Islam’ or bringer of death: IS attacks church in Russia, kills 5
Moscow: Five women were shot dead in an apparent radical Islamist attack on an Orthodox church in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan on Sunday, as the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the assault.
An unidentified gunman fired at worshippers at the church in the town of Kizlyar in the mainly Muslim region, local press reports said.
The regional internal affairs ministry said in a statement that the assailant used a hunting rifle, and that four women were killed on the spot, while the attacker was “eliminated”.
A fifth woman died of her injuries in hospital, health ministry spokeswoman Zalina Mourtazalieva told TASS news agency.
Two Russian police officers were injured in the attack.
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 four people,” Father Pavel told RBK.
“He was carrying a rifle and a knife,” he added.