As a result of recent attacks on Orthodox churches and synagogues in Dagestan, approximately 20 people were killed, including 15 police officers. The anti-terrorist operation that began yesterday evening in Makhachkala and Derbent has now been completed. June 24, 25, and 26 have been declared days of mourning in the republic.

"We should understand that war is coming to our house. We felt it before, but today we collided directly," said the head of the republic, Sergey Melikov. "On Holy Trinity Day, our police officers were the first to find themselves on the path of terrorists, bandits, and inhumans who committed a terrorist act on religious sites. More than 15 policemen became victims of the terrorist attack. They protected peace and tranquillity in Dagestan with weapons in their hands."

As Melikov said, "several civilians" were killed during the clashes. The head of Dagestan did not specify their number; however, he noted that Father Nikolay, a 66-year-old priest who served in the Derbent Orthodox Church for more than 40 years, was among the dead. Melikov stated that the situation in the republic is currently "controlled by the state authorities and law enforcement agencies."

The daughter of the Makhachkala clergyman, Nikolai Kotelnikov, spoke to a Russian publication about the attack. According to Olga Lobova, two terrorists entered the temple, first set fire to the main icon, and then started shooting indiscriminately. "They broke into the priest's house and shot him in the head. The house was set on fire," said Lobova. Previously, it was reported that the attackers had cut the priest's throat.

The first reports of the attack emerged on June 23 at around 18:00 local time. The BBC Russian service writes that unknown individuals opened fire with machine guns at the Church of the Holy Mother of God on Lenin Street and the Synagogue on Taghizade Street in Derbent. As a result of the attack, a fire broke out in the synagogue. Simultaneously, unknown individuals opened fire on the traffic police station located on Ermoshkin Street in Makhachkala and the nearby synagogue. The shooting also took place on Orjonikidze Street, near the Assumption Cathedral.

The shootings continued until late evening. The counter-terrorist operation regime in Makhachkala and Derbent was lifted at dawn. The exact number of attackers is unknown. According to the authorities, six attackers have been eliminated.

The identity of the killed attackers has not been officially disclosed. According to Russian media, three of them were sons and nephews of the head of the Sergokalinsky district of Dagestan. Magomed Omarov was arrested and taken for questioning. Later, it was revealed that he was expelled from Russia's ruling party, United Russia. Dagestan Telegram channels also report that a former MMA fighter is among the killed attackers.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov called the incident a "despicable provocation." "Terrorists have once again shown their evil and cowardly nature. As always, they chose unarmed and defenseless people as victims. What happened is a despicable provocation and an attempt to sow discord between religious groups," Kadyrov said.

The Russian Investigative Committee classified the case as a terrorist attack.

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