Group of people invade Dagestan airport to find Jewish travelers arriving from Israel

In the Russian region of Dagestan, a mob consisting mostly of Muslims stormed the airport in Makhachkala. Their motive was to search for Jewish passengers who had arrived from Israel.

Over the last 24 hours, a hotel has been surrounded by locals who were searching for Jewish guests. There have also been reports of an airport being stormed by the same group, following news of a flight from Tel Aviv. Passengers were left with no choice but to remain on the planes or hide inside the airport, fearing for their safety.

According to local health authorities, the incident resulted in 20 injuries, with two of them being critical. Additionally, RIA news agency reported that nine police officers sustained injuries during the incident, two of whom are currently receiving treatment in the hospital. Fortunately, the passengers aboard the plane were unharmed, as confirmed by security forces who spoke to Reuters.

According to a report by RIA, authorities have detained 60 individuals and identified 150 protesters involved in the recent demonstrations.

On social media, a video surfaced of numerous young men, some with Palestinian flags or signs condemning Israel, invading the tarmac of the Makhachkala international airport. They proceeded to climb on to planes that were still running and tried to break through the windows.

Passengers were hurried back inside planes as airline employees worked to manage the approaching crowds. On Sunday evening, Makhachkala airport in Russia was shut down due to the presence of “intruders” on the premises.

As passengers settled into their seats, the captain’s voice boomed through the intercom, informing them of the tumultuous scene outside the aircraft. “There’s a furious mob gathering, unaware of our origin and purpose,” he warned. “We may face hostility upon landing.” The tension in the cabin was palpable as the passengers braced themselves for what lay ahead.

According to reports, the riots were allegedly instigated by several messages circulating on the popular social media platform Telegram. These messages claimed that refugees from Israel would be arriving that evening on a flight from Tel Aviv, which seemed to have sparked the unrest.

As the rioters swarmed into the main terminal of the airport, brandishing signs with messages like “We are against Jewish refugees”, the police remained passive. The crowd entered restricted areas and demanded that customs officials guide them towards the incoming passengers.

Utro Dagestan, a popular Telegram account known for sharing news laced with conspiracy theories, recently urged its followers to surround the local airport and question incoming passengers, demanding that they publicly renounce the Israeli government.

The locals were urged by the account to keep a close eye on any Israelis who arrive in the area, capture photographs of their vehicles, and note down the location of their accommodations.

At the airport, bystanders confronted airline passengers, including those who had just arrived on a flight from Israel. The passengers explained that they were locals who had gone abroad for medical treatment. Additional footage captured the altercation.

On Monday, the government of Dagestan announced that it is enhancing security measures throughout the republic, where approximately 3 million individuals reside.

According to Sergei Melikov, the leader of Dagestan, this incident is a clear violation of the law. However, he acknowledges that Dagestanis share the pain of those who have suffered due to the actions of unjust individuals and politicians, and they hope for peace in Palestine.

Melikov, on the Telegram messaging app, stated that waiting in a mob for unarmed individuals who have not broken any laws is not an act of courage. However, he also placed blame on external influences for the riots, claiming that they were a result of false information spread by adversaries.

Late on Sunday, the aviation authority of Russia reported that they have successfully removed all “unauthorized citizens” from the airport. Videos circulating on the internet showed police apprehending some of the protesters.

According to local religious authorities, approximately 800 Jewish families scattered across Dagestan, specifically in the southern city of Derbent, may need to be evacuated.

According to Ovadya Isakov, a government representative of the local Jewish community, the situation in Dagestan is currently very challenging. The people from the community are living in fear, constantly reaching out to him for advice. Isakov is uncertain about what to advise them, and whether it is worth leaving the area altogether. He points out that Russia may not be a safe haven for them, since there have been incidents of pogroms in the country’s history. At the moment, the Jewish community in Dagestan is unsure of where they can go to escape the danger.

Since the Hamas raid on 7 October, which caused chaos in southern Israel and resulted in over 1,400 deaths, influential individuals in Dagestan have expressed their solidarity with Palestine and condemned the actions of the Israeli state. In retaliation, the Israeli government has launched a bombing offensive on Gaza, claiming the lives of approximately 8,000 people, as reported by local authorities on Sunday.

In a recent Instagram post, Khabib Nurmagomedov, the renowned ex-mixed martial arts champion and a prominent personality from Dagestan, expressed his concern over the ongoing situation in Gaza, labeling it as a “genocide”. His post was shared with over 35 million followers.

Incidents of anti-Semitic behavior were not limited to Makhachkala alone. In the neighboring Kabardino-Balkaria region’s city of Nalchik, a Jewish center that had been scheduled to open was intentionally set ablaze on the same day. Moreover, protestors in the city of Khasavyurt in Dagestan laid siege to a hotel earlier on Sunday, searching for “Jewish refugees.”

Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, who served as the former chief rabbi of Moscow and left in 2022 following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, took to Twitter to share concerning news. According to him, reports have been coming in from four different cities in Dagestan about mobs demanding the killing of Jews. He directly attributes this alarming development to Russia’s decision to side with Hamas during the ongoing conflict and their failure to condemn the recent massacre of 7/10.

Earlier this week, a delegation from Hamas, the Palestinian organization, arrived in Moscow for meetings with the Russian foreign ministry. This marks the first high-profile international trip for Hamas since the 7 October attacks.

Israel has released a statement regarding the airport storming incident, calling on the Russian authorities to ensure the safety of Israelis and Jews within their jurisdiction.

In response to recent threats against Israeli citizens and Jews worldwide, the foreign ministry in Jerusalem issued a statement emphasizing the gravity of such attempts. The state of Israel is deeply concerned about the safety of its citizens and expects the Russian law enforcement authorities to take all necessary measures to protect them.

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MBS Staff
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