In Dagestan, crowd of people paralyse the work of capital airport looking for Israeli refugees

Crowd of anti-Israel protesters break into Dagestan airport looking for Israeli refugees

The Airport of Makhachkala (the capital of Dagestan, a republic in Southern Russia), was closed for arrivals and departures, the press service of the Federal Air Transport Agency reported. In the evening of October 29, a crowd of people broke into the building of the airport due to the arrival of a flight from Israel. The people then entered the international terminal and the runway.

Dagestan airport unrest

"Due to the entry of unknown persons into the Makhachkala airport, a decision was made to temporarily close the airport for arrivals and departures. The measures will stay in effect until the situation goes back to normal. Law enforcement agencies are working on the scene,” the agency said.

Two flights were supposed to land at the airport at 20:50 and 21:15. Both flights had to be redirected to other cities for safety reasons.

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On the evening of October 29, a crowd of people gathered at Makhachkala airport before the arrival of Red Wings Flight WZ 4728 from Israel's Ben Gurion Airport. The protesters started checking passports of the passengers that were leaving the airport trying to find Israeli citizens among them. Afterwards, the crowd broke into the airport international terminal, blocked it and then entered the runway.

The Department of the Investigative Committee for Dagestan opened a criminal case under Art. 212 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organisation of mass riots).

Ovadya Isakov, a representative of the Chief Rabbinate of Russia in Dagestan, said in an interview with Podyom Telegram channel that Jews would most likely have to be evacuated from the republic:

"The situation is very difficult in Dagestan, people from the community are afraid, they call, but I don't know what to advise. <…> There are about 300-400 families in Derbent, and about the same number throughout Dagestan. Is it worth leaving at all, because Russia is not salvation, there were pogroms in Russia too. It's not clear where people may run to," Isakov said.

In the city of Khasavyurt, a crowd of local residents gathered at Flamingo Hotel after it transpired that a group of refuges from Israel were allegedly accommodated there. The protesters demanded the Jews be expelled from the republic. The police allowed several protesters to enter the hotel and make sure that there were no Israeli citizens staying there. The protesters ended the rally and went to their homes afterwards.

Dagestan is a republic of Russia situated in the North Caucasus of Eastern Europe. The republic is the southernmost tip of Russia. Makhachkala is the republic's capital and largest city. According to a 2012 survey, 83% of the population of Dagestan adheres to Islam, 2.4% to the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Author`s name Andrey Mihayloff
Editor Dmitry Sudakov