Five women have been killed in an Islamist terror attack on a church in the Caucasus region of Dagestan.
A gunman, armed with a hunting rifle and a knife, opened fire on worshippers as they left an evening service at a church in the city of Kizlyar on Sunday 18 February. Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We had finished the mass and were beginning to leave the church. A bearded man ran towards the church shouting Allahu Akbar”, the priest said.
Five women were killed and five other people, including two members of the security services, were injured. Two people are reported to be in a critical condition.
The attacker was shot and killed by security forces at the scene. He was later identified as a 22-year-old resident of Dagestan. Islamic State media subsequently claimed one of its “soldiers” had carried out the shooting.
The Russian republic of Dagestan is 95 per cent Muslim. Christians comprise around 4% of the population. Dagestan borders Chechnya, where the Russian government has engaged in a long-running conflict with separatists. Statements supporting Islamic State have been made by several militant groups in the volatile region.