Published6 minutes ago
Israel has urged Russia to protect “all its citizens and all Jews” after a large mob, some shouting antisemitic slogans, stormed a Dagestan airport.
Video footage on social media showed an angry crowd running through the airport in Makhachkala, reportedly seeking people arriving from Tel Aviv.
Some of the crowd ran onto the runway and surrounded aircraft there.
Russia’s aviation agency Rosaviatsia said security forces later brought the situation under control.
The authorities closed the airport and it will stay closed until Tuesday, Rosaviatsia says.
Sixty alleged mob participants have been arrested, Russian news agencies say, citing the local interior ministry.
Video clips showed hundreds of people storming the airport terminal, with some waving Palestinian flags.
Many in the crowd shouted antisemitic slogans while others chanted “Allahu Akbar” – God is greatest.
Local media reported that some demonstrators were stopping cars outside Makhachkala’s airport demanding to see documents, in a chaotic search for Israeli passports.
Twenty people were injured, including some police officers, the republic’s health ministry said. Some have serious injuries and two are in critical condition.
Dagestan is a mainly Muslim Russian republic in the North Caucasus, home to some 3.1 million people on the western edge of the Caspian Sea. Its government said a criminal case had been opened for civil disorder.
The Israeli prime minister’s office said Russia must act decisively against incitement to violence against Jews and Israelis.
A US presidential spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, said in a tweet “the United States vigorously condemns the antisemitic protests in Dagestan”.
“The US unequivocally stands with the entire Jewish community as we witness a worldwide surge in antisemitism. There is never any excuse or justification for antisemitism,” the White House National Security Council Spokesperson said.
Dagestan’s government voiced support for Gaza but appealed to citizens to remain calm and not take part in such protests. There have been widespread protests internationally against Israel’s bombing of Gaza.
Dagestan’s Governor Sergei Melikov denounced the mob invasion of the airport, in a post on messaging service Telegram.
“There is no honour in hurling abuse at strangers, searching their pockets looking for their passports!” he wrote. He condemned “attacks on women with children”.
The mob’s actions, he said, were a “stab in the back” for Dagestani patriots, including those fighting in Ukraine in the Russian armed forces.
“What happened at our airport is outrageous and should receive the appropriate assessment from law enforcement. This will be done,” he wrote.
Israel’s foreign ministry said the Israeli ambassador in Moscow was working with Russian authorities, adding that Israel “views gravely attempts to harm Israeli citizens and Jews anywhere”.
“Israel expects the Russian law enforcement authorities to safeguard all Israeli citizens and Jews, whoever they may be, and to take robust action against the rioters and against the unbridled incitement being directed at Jews and Israelis,” the ministry statement said.
On Saturday, a crowd in the city of Khasavyurt in Dagestan gathered outside a hotel where they believed some Israelis were staying.
The protestors threw stones at the windows and a sign was put on the door that read: “Entrance strictly forbidden to citizens of Israel…(Jews).”
Later police reportedly let some into the hotel so they could see for themselves that no Israelis were there.
Dagestan is not the only country in the North Caucasus that has been dealing with unrest. A Jewish centre in the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria was set on fire over the weekend.
Akhmed Dudayev, Chechnya’s information minister, has appealed to people not to “follow the lead of provocateurs”.
“We cannot allow the incitement of ethnic hatred! Remain vigilant and do not allow yourself to be misled!” he wrote on Telegram.
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