Moscow: A violent mob of Palestine supporters invaded the main airport of Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim region in Russia, on Sunday evening, after learning that a plane from Israel had landed there. The crowd assaulted the Israeli passengers, searched their passports, and vandalized the airport facilities. The incident left at least 20 people injured, some critically, and forced the authorities to close the airport and divert flights.
According to Russian media reports, the crowd gathered at the Makhachkala airport after hearing rumors that a person from Israel had arrived there. The crowd broke through the security barriers and entered the runway, where they surrounded a Red Wings Airlines plane that had just arrived from Tel Aviv. The plane was supposed to make a brief stopover in Makhachkala before flying to Moscow.
Videos posted on social media showed some of the protesters climbing on the wing of the plane, while others tried to force open the doors. Some of them waved Palestinian flags and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest). One of them held a sign that read “There is no place for child killers in Dagestan”, referring to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
The Israeli passengers were terrified by the attack and some of them managed to escape through the emergency exits. They were later taken to a safe place by the police. However, some of them were injured by the mob, who also damaged their luggage and belongings.
The Russian security forces arrived at the scene and dispersed the crowd using tear gas and rubber bullets. They also arrested several suspects and launched an investigation into the incident. The airport was temporarily closed and all flights were canceled or diverted.
The Israeli government condemned the incident and demanded that Russia take action against the rioters and protect the safety of its citizens and Jews wherever they are. The Israeli Prime Minister’s office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a joint statement saying that they expect “the Russian legal authorities to safeguard the well-being of all Israeli citizens and Jews wherever they are and to take strong action against the rioters and against the wild incitement being directed against Jews and Israelis.”
The incident was one of the latest examples of how the Israel-Hamas war has sparked global tensions and protests. The war began on October 7, when Hamas launched a coordinated attack on Israel, killing about 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping more than 200 people. Israel responded with a massive military campaign in Gaza, which has killed about 8,000 people, including 3,000 children, according to Palestinian authorities.
The incident also came on the same day that a Jewish center was set on fire in Nalchik, another North Caucasus republic in Russia. No one was injured in the fire, but it caused significant damage to the building. The police are investigating whether it was an arson attack or an accident.