Mob storms Russian airport looking for Israelis


Mobs storming Makhachkala airport.

Mobs storming Makhachkala airport.

  • A mob in Muslim-dominated Dagestan stormed its airport looking for Jews.
  • Rumours had spread that a flight from Israel was due at the airport.
  • Authorities say the airport is back under police control, but will remain shut until 6 November.

A mob looking for Israelis and Jews overran an airport in Russia’s Caucasus republic of Dagestan on Sunday, after rumours spread that a flight was arriving from Israel.

The violence in the mostly Muslim region, which erupted amid the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, prompted Israel to call on Russia to protect its citizens.

Dozens of protesters, many of them chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) broke through doors and barriers, with some running onto the runway, according to videos posted on social media, and Russia’s RT and Izvestia media.

AFP could not immediately verify the videos.

Shortly afterwards, Russia’s aviation agency Rossavitsia announced that it had closed the airport to incoming and outgoing flights and that the security forces had arrived on site.

“The situation is under control, law enforcement is working at the scene,” said a statement from the government of Russia’s Dagestan Republic posted on Telegram.

Late on Sunday Rossavitsia announced that the airport had been “freed” from the mob and would remain closed until 6 November.

Several local Telegram channels showed photos and videos of dozens of men waiting outside the airport to stop cars, with some of them attempting to break down security barriers.

One protester could be seen in the videos holding a sign reading “Child killers have no place in Dagestan”.

Other videos showed a crowd inside an airport terminal trying to break down doors as staff members tried to deter them.

Calls for calm

A statement Sunday evening from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said: “Israel expects the Russian authorities to protect all Israeli citizens and all Jews, and to act decisively against the rioters and against incitement to violence against Jews and Israelis.”

Earlier Sunday, Akhmed Dudayev, the minister of information in Dagestan’s neighbour Chechnya, warned on Telegram against “provocations” and called for calm in the face of rising tensions in the Caucasus.

The Dagestan government posted on Telegram telling the mob “not to continue illegal acts and not to interfere with the work of airport employees”.

The statement added: “It is not easy for each of us to stand and watch the inhumane massacre of a civilian population — the Palestinian people.

“At the same time, we urge residents of the republic not to succumb to provocations of destructive groups and not to create panic in society.”

The Flightradar website, indicated that a Red Wings flight out of Tel Aviv had landed at Makhachkala at 7:00PM.

The independent Russian media outlet Sota said it was a transiting flight that had been due to take off again for Moscow two hours later.

Chechnya and Dagestan are two volatile republics in the Russian Caucasus, both of which have mainly Muslim populations.

Earlier on Sunday, the RIA Novosti news agency reported that a Jewish centre in another North Caucasus republic — Kabardino-Balkaria — had been set on fire in the city of Nalchik.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, expressing concern at the “appalling” videos posted on social media, said on X, formerly Twitter, that it was not an isolated incident.

It was, he said, “part of Russia’s widespread culture of hatred toward other nations, which is propagated by state television, pundits, and authorities”.