Hundreds of people have stormed the main airport in Russia’s Dagestan region, ostensibly to protest the arrival of a flight from Israel.
Authorities on Sunday evening closed the airport in Makhachkala and police converged on the facility. There were no immediate reports of arrests but there were several injuries.
Local news reports said the airliner belonged to Russian carrier Red Wings. Social media footage showed some in the crowd on the landing field waving Palestinian flags and others checking the passports of arriving passengers. One protester could be seen in the videos holding a sign reading: “Child killers have no place in Dagestan”.
In a statement released on Sunday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that Israel “expects the Russian law enforcement authorities to protect the safety of all Israeli citizens and Jews wherever they may be and to act resolutely against the rioters and the wild incitement directed against Jews and Israelis”.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs for Russia’s North Caucasian Federal District, where Dagestan is located, said CCTV footage would be used to establish the identities of those who stormed the airport and those involved would be brought to justice.
While voicing support for Gaza, the regional Dagestan government appealed to citizens to remain calm and not take part in such protests.
The government warned the protesters on Telegram “not to continue illegal acts and not to interfere with the work of airport employees”.
The incident comes as Israel pushes forward with expanded ground operations inside the Gaza Strip, even as heavy aerial bombardment continues. More than 8,000 Palestinians, including 3,324 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the war began. At least 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, mostly in a surprise attack by Hamas on October 7.
The Supreme Mufti of Dagestan, Sheikh Akhmad Afandi, called on residents to stop the unrest at the airport.
Russia’s civilian aviation agency, Rosaviatsia, later reported that the airfield had been cleared of unauthorised people but that the airport would tentatively remain closed to incoming aircraft until November 6.
Chechnya and Dagestan are two republics in Russia, both of which have mainly Muslim populations.
Earlier on Sunday, the RIA Novosti news agency reported that a Jewish centre in the city of Nalchik in another Russian republic – Kabardino-Balkaria – had been set on fire.

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