Gunman kills five in Russia church on Christian holiday

  • The so-called ‘Islamic State’ terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack
World

MOSCOW – Five people were shot dead after a terrorist opened fire on worshippers leaving a church in southern Russia.

Another five people were injured in the attack on the village of Kizlyar in the Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan, local news agencies reported.

Initial reports suggest that all five victims of the attack in the town of roughly 50,000 people are women.

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

Police have killed the attacker, who has been identified as a 22-year-old local man, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee.

Security services on duty nearby managed to shoot and kill the shooter, who was found with bullets and a knife on his person as well as the rifle.

The victims were leaving the church following a service when the gunman opened fire with a hunting rifle.

It happened on Maslenitsa, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar.

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.

It is one of the poorest and most unstable regions in Russia and has seen a large number of people join the so-called ‘Islamic State’.

The terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.