Angry mob storms Russia’s Dagestan airport hunting for Israeli passengers

More than 20 people were wounded.

Angry mob storms Russia’s Dagestan airport hunting for Israeli passengers
This frame grab taken from video footage posted on the Telegram channel @askrasul on October 29, 2023 shows protestors on the apron area of an airport in Makhachkala. A mob looking for Israelis and Jews overran an airport in Russia's Caucasus republic of Dagestan on October 29, after rumours spread that a flight was arriving from Israel. (Photo by Telegram / @askrasul / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
A mob looking for Israelis overran an airport in Russia’s Caucasus republic of Dagestan on October 29 (Picture: AFP)

This is the harrowing moment passengers at an airport in Russia’s Dagestanregion were encircled by a mob, reportedly searching for Jews arriving from Tel Aviv.

Footage circulating on social media showed a man pleading with a crowd in the capital Makhachkala for them to give him back his passport.

‘Are you trying to f*****g mess with us here, b***h?’ one of the men surrounding him can be heard shouting aggressively.

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The video emerged after reports that hundreds of people stormed into the main airport in Dagestan and rushed onto the landing field.

This frame grab taken from video footage posted on the Telegram channel @askrasul on October 29, 2023 shows protestors gathering at an airport in Makhachkala. A mob looking for Israelis and Jews overran an airport in Russia's Caucasus republic of Dagestan on October 29, after rumours spread that a flight was arriving from Israel. (Photo by Telegram / @askrasul / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
Hundreds of people gathered at the airport in the capital Makhachkala (Picture: AFP)

They were all chanting anti-Semitic slogans and seeking passengers arriving on a flight from Israel, Russian news agencies and social media reported.

Dagestan’s Ministry of Health said more than 20 people were injured, with two in critical condition. It said the injured included police officers and civilians.

Footage showed the rioters, some of whom were waving Palestinian flags, running towards a Pobeda Airlines plane.

Others held placards denouncing Israel, reading ‘We are against Jewish refugees’, and shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ or ‘God is Greatest’.

This frame grab taken from video footage posted on the Telegram channel @askrasul on October 29, 2023 shows protestors running on the apron area of an airport in Makhachkala. A mob looking for Israelis and Jews overran an airport in Russia's Caucasus republic of Dagestan on October 29, after rumours spread that a flight was arriving from Israel. (Photo by Telegram / @askrasul / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
Rioters running on the apron area of the airport while passengers took refuge in the planes (Picture: AFP)

The men were seen breaking down glass doors and even trying to topple over a patrol truck.

Some 60 people were later detained, RIA reported on Monday, adding that 150 of the protesters had been identified.

Authorities closed the airport for flights and police converged on the facility. 

It appears the riot was inspired by a number of posts on Telegram, where users were told that a flight from Tel Aviv would be arriving that evening with refugees from Israel.

This frame grab taken from video footage posted on the Telegram channel @askrasul on October 29, 2023 shows protestors on the apron area of an airport in Makhachkala. A mob looking for Israelis and Jews overran an airport in Russia's Caucasus republic of Dagestan on October 29, after rumours spread that a flight was arriving from Israel. (Photo by Telegram / @askrasul / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
The mob was made up mostly of young men (Picture: AFP)
This video grab taken from footage released by the Press service of the Head of Dagestan on October 30, 2023 shows Head of Dagestan Sergei Melikov (2ndR) visiting the airport in Makhachkala. Russian police on October 30, 2023 said they had arrested 60 people suspected of storming an airport in the Muslim-majority Caucasus republic of Dagestan, seeking to attack Jewish passengers coming from Israel. (Photo by Handout / Press service of the Head of Dagestan / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
Head of Dagestan Sergei Melikov (2ndR) visiting the airport (Picture: AFP)
This frame grab taken from video footage posted on the Telegram channel @askrasul on October 29, 2023 shows law enforcement personnel marching past as protestors (background) gather at an airport in Makhachkala. A mob looking for Israelis and Jews overran an airport in Russia's Caucasus republic of Dagestan on October 29, after rumours spread that a flight was arriving from Israel. (Photo by Telegram / @askrasul / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT
Police marching past as protestors gathered (Picture: AFP)

The unrest followed several other anti-Israel incidents in recent days in Russia’s North Caucasus region in response to Israel’s war against Hamas militants in Gaza.

The local Dagestani government said earlier that it was strengthening security measures across the republic, which is home to about 3 million people.

‘At present, the airport is fully under the control of law enforcement agencies,’ the ministry said.

Sergei Melikov, the head of Dagestan, said the incident was a gross violation of the law, even as Dagestanis ’empathise with the suffering of victims of the actions of unrighteous people and politicians, and pray for peace in Palestine’.

‘There is no courage in waiting as a mob for unarmed people who have not done anything forbidden,’ he said on Telegram.

Regional leaders in two other areas of the northern Caucasus called for calm. A similar appeal was issued by Dagestan’s chief Muslim cleric, or mufti.

Meanwhile, Israel urged Russian authorities to protect Israelis and Jews in their jurisdictions.

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