A mob of hundreds of people shouting anti-Jewish epithets stormed and shut down the airport in the Russian city of Makhachkala in the predominantly Muslim region of Daghestan after a flight arrived from Israel on October 29.
Riot police arrived at the airport after the disturbances, while the Interior Ministry office in Makhachkala said reinforcements, including National Guard units, were being sent to “ensure the safety” of arriving passengers, according to the Baza Telegram channel.
Without being specific, Daghestani officials later said that “several people” had been injured in the incident and were being treated.
Russia’s aviation authority later said the airport would remain closed until November 6.
Anti-Jewish protests have broken out in several cities in the region in the face of Israel’s war with Hamas, rulers of the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry on October 29 demanded that Russia protect Israelis and Jews and that anyone threatening them be apprehended.
“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,” a statement said.
Iranian Basij paramilitary force members, dressed in the style of Palestinian and Lebanese militants, pretend to have detained Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a state-sponsored, pro-Palestinian rally after Friday Prayers in Tehran on October 13.
Late on October 29, videos and photos from the scene published by RFE/RL’s Caucaus.Realities indicated that protesters had stormed onto the Makhachkala runway and attempted to gain entry to the incoming plane.
Authorities said the airport was immediately closed for incoming and outgoing flights, while police reportedly began jamming communications in the airport area to prevent the crowd from coordinating further actions.
A local news Telegram channel reported that protesters were trying to check the identities of arriving passengers, attempting to prevent Jews from leaving the airport, including searching police vehicles.
A protester was seen in one unconfirmed video carrying a sign saying, “Child killers have no place in Daghestan.”
Daghestani officials accused “enemies of Russia” of instigating the anti-Semitic sentiments after the Coordination Center of Muslims of the North Caucasus called on authorities to prevent refugees from Israel from entering the republic, according to the Caucasian Knot publication.
The Internal Affairs Ministry said that “against the background of the situation in Makhachkala, the identities of all those who take part in the riots will be established, since video surveillance works at the airport.”
“We recommend that all persons who have violated the operating procedures of the [airport] to cease the illegal actions and to not interfere with the work of airport employees,” a Telegram statement said.
Along with her children, Tetyana Kosheva of Ukraine took refuge from the Hamas assault on Ashkelon in the corridor of her apartment building, reading on her cell phone that “terrorists have gotten into [the city], that they’ve shot people.”
“It is not easy for each of us to stand and watch the inhumane massacre of a civilian population — the Palestinian people,” the government statement said. “Still, we urge residents of the republic not to succumb to provocations of destructive groups and not to create panic in society.”
Anti-Semitic rallies took place over the weekend in other cities of the North Caucasus protesting against Israel’s military campaign.
The Middle East conflict broke out after Hamas militants stormed Israel on October 7, killing hundreds of people and taking more than 200 hostage. Israel retaliated with a military campaign against Gaza that is believed to have killed some 8,000 people and destroyed much of Gaza City.
On October 28, a rally was held in Cherkessk, the capital of the Karachayevo-Cherkessia Republic, demanding that residents of Israel not be allowed into the republic.
On the night of October 29, residents of Derbent in Daghestan protested after false reports of the settling of refugees from Israel in local hotels.
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