February 18, 2018 5:24 pm

Church shooting in Russia’s Dagestan province kills 5, ISIS claims responsibility

Doctors examine a wounded man in the hospital after shooting near the church in Kizlyar Dagestan, Russia, 18 February 2018.

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 MOSCOW, Feb 18 (Reuters) – A man in Russia‘s southern province of Dagestan shot into a crowd leaving a church on Sunday, killing five people and injuring at least five others, Russian news agencies reported, citing the local health ministry.

The attack occurred in the village of Kizlyar in the Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan, agencies said.

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Islamic State claimed responsibility for the shooting, its news agency Amaq reported, but did not provide immediate evidence for the claim.

READ MORE: Car bomb kills 2 police, wounds 19 in Russia’s Dagestan

The small republic in the Caucasus mountains borders Chechnya, where Moscow has led two wars against separatists and radical religious groups since the 1991 Soviet collapse and which has seen a large number of people join Islamic State.

Russian news agencies said the attack occurred as churchgoers celebrated Maslenitsa, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar.

The assailant was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee.

READ MORE: Islamic State on recruitment spree in Russia’s North Caucasus

He was shot and killed by security services who were on duty nearby, TASS said, adding that a hunting rifle, bullets and a knife were discovered on his person.

Initial reports suggested all five victims were women, TASS said, citing the local branch of the interior ministry.

The injured include two members of local security services and two civilians, also women, the Interfax news agency said.

© 2018 Reuters

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