On Sunday, hundreds of anti-Israel protesters stormed Makhachkala airport in Russia’s Dagestan region shortly after a plane from Israel had landed.
The incident resulted in the closure of the airport and the diversion of flights as Russian security forces worked to remove the demonstrators.
Approximately 20 people were injured during the protests, with two individuals reported to be in critical condition, according to local health authorities. Makhachkala is located in the northern Caucasus region, with significant Muslim communities.
Video footage depicted predominantly young men waving Palestinian flags, breaking glass doors, and chanting slogans like “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest).
Outside the airport, another group rocked a white truck marked with the initials of a Russian patrol service.
Dagestan Airport Closure and Safety Concerns
Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsia deployed security forces, who removed the demonstrators by 10:20 p.m. Moscow time (1920 GMT). Passengers on the Israeli plane were secured in a safe location.
In a concerning development, a Jewish center under construction in Nalchik, the capital of the nearby Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, was also set on fire within the past day, as reported by local emergency officials.
Due to the disturbances at Makhachkala airport, Rosaviatsia announced that the airport would remain closed until November 6. Russia’s Investigative Committee has initiated a criminal investigation into the incident.
Israel swiftly called upon Russian authorities to ensure the safety of Israeli citizens and Jews within their jurisdictions.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement emphasizing the gravity of attempts to harm Israeli citizens and Jews worldwide.
Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, expressed his dismay over the events in Dagestan and attributed them to Russia’s official messages regarding Israel.
He contended that such incidents are not isolated but rather part of Russia’s broader culture of hostility towards other nations, which, he argued, is promoted by state television, pundits, and authorities.
Social media footage showed that some protesters attempted to approach the aircraft, although passengers remained safely on board.
The identification number on the plane’s tail confirmed its origin from Israel, according to FlightRadar24, a flight tracking website.
Regional leaders in Dagestan and two other areas in the northern Caucasus issued appeals for calm. A similar call for peace came from Dagestan’s chief mufti.
Russia has been attempting to maintain contact with all parties involved in the Israel-Hamas conflict, though this approach has led to tensions with Israeli authorities.
The summoning of the Russian ambassador by Israel’s foreign ministry on Sunday highlights the seriousness of the situation.