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1ST LEAD Islamic State says responsible for mass shooting at church in Russia By Peter Spinella, dpa

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Moscow (dpa) - The extremist organization Islamic State claimed responsibility on Monday for a weekend mass shooting at a Christian church in southern Russia‘s predominantly Muslim region of Dagestan.

A man identified as a 22-year-old resident opened fire with a hunting rifle during Sunday service at the Russian Orthodox church in the town of Kizlyar.

He killed five women and wounded four other people, including law enforcement officers, state media reported. He was shot dead by police.

Islamic State described the killer as "one of the zealous soldiers of Islam" who targeted "crusaders" at a "Christian temple," according to a statement posted on social media.

Russian federal investigators said the killer was located outside the church and specifically "opened fire on women."

Authorities are considering the incident to be a terrorist attack, the investigative committee said in a statement on its website.

The region‘s administration said victims would be buried at the church with a mourning ceremony on Tuesday, state media reported.

Dagestan and the neighbouring region of Chechnya have for decades struggled with an Islamist insurgency seeking to establish an independent emirate.

Many of those insurgents are believed to have gone to Syria or Iraq to fight for Islamic State.

As the extremist organization is uprooted in those countries, Russian authorities have become increasingly concerned about such fighters returning home.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last year that there were about 10,000 nationals of former Soviet countries fighting for Islamic State in Syria.


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(20.03.2018 16:33)

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