The Kremlin attributed the attack Monday at "external interference" responsibility of the assault, the day before, of an airport in the Russian Caucasian republic mostly Muslim from Dagestan by demonstrators visibly at the expense of the search for Israelis.
A crowd of men invaded the tarmac and terminal of the airport in the capital Makhachkala on Sunday evening, amid tensions across the world linked to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The spokesperson of the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, assured that the clashes in Dagestan were “largely the result of external interference, including external information”.
With the “television images of the horrors occurring in the Gaza Strip”, it is “very easy for people with ill intentions to use, to provoke the situation”, he regretted.
Dmitri Peskov did not specify who would be responsible for this supposed “interference” but the leader of Dagestan had for his part, earlier, pointed the finger at Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin will also preside on Monday evening a meeting “to discuss Western attempts to use events in the Middle East to divide Russian society,” according to the Kremlin.
“I consider what happened as an attempt to sow discord between the Muslims and Jews of Russia, who have maintained good relations of friendship and cooperation for centuries,” said the President in a statement. Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Orthodox Church in Russia, also a fervent supporter of the Russian head of state.
– Tracking passengers –
Videos, broadcast on social networks and in Russian media on Sunday, showed men checking cars, checking the identity of a passenger, forcing doors into the terminal and gathering at the foot of a plane on the tarmac.
One of them, in one of these videos, holds a sign: “Child killers have no place in Dagestan”, while others shout “God is great !”. Some in the crowd waved Palestinian flags.
In this screenshot of a video published on the Telegram channel of @askrasul on October 29, 2023, demonstrators are on the parking area of Makhachkala airport, Russia © Telegram/@askrasul – –
A plane from Tel Aviv of the Russian company Red Wings landed on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. local time (4:00 p.m. GMT) in Makhachkala, according to the specialized website Flightradar24.
The authorities have not yet specified whether the plane and its passengers had been able to leave.
On Monday, a major security system had been put in place around the airport and employees were starting to repair damaged barriers, according to an AFP journalist present on site.
The airport suffered “significant damage”, explained its general director. However, it was able to reopen early Monday afternoon, the Russian aviation agency announced.
The police arrested 60 people suspected of having stormed it and more than 150 “active participants in unrest” were identified, said the Russian Interior Ministry, ensuring that search operations were underway to identify all the attackers.
Nine police officers were injured, two of whom were hospitalized, lamented the Russian Interior Ministry in a press release.
– An official points the finger Ukraine –
The leader of Dagestan, Sergei Melikov, assured Monday morning, without providing evidence, that these unrest had been organized from Ukrainian territory, in the midst of the armed conflict between Kiev and Moscow.
“The initiators of this action, obviously, these are our enemies, those who organized these actions from the territory of Ukraine,” he said, quoted by the Ria Novosti news agency.
He claimed that a Telegram channel critical of local authorities, “Outro Dagestan”, was administered from Ukraine by “traitors”.
This channel, followed by around 60,000 people, had shared a call to rally at Makhachkala airport on Sunday evening, saying they wanted to prevent the arrival of “unwanted” passengers on the Red Wings flight from Tel Aviv.
The war between Israel and Hamas entered its 24th day on Monday. The Gaza Strip is subject to incessant bombardments by the Israeli army, triggered after the Hamas attack on its soil on October 7, the deadliest in Israel's history.
In this screenshot of a video published on the Telegram channel of @askrasul on October 29, 2023, demonstrators run at the area parking lot at Makhachkala Airport, Russia © Telegram/@askrasul – –
While the incident was still ongoing, Israel called on Russia to “protect all Israeli citizens and all Jews.”
The United States, for its part, condemned “anti-Semitic demonstrations.”
Earlier Sunday, a Jewish center in the Kabardino-Balkaria region (southwest ) was set on fire in the town of Nalchik, according to the RIA Novosti agency.
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