Dagestan: Mob Storms Russian Airport in Search of Jews

Israel has called on Russia to protect "all its citizens and all Jews" after a large mob, chanting anti-Semitic slogans, stormed a Dagestani airport.

Videos on social media show an enraged crowd running through the Machachkala airport in search of people arriving on flights from Tel Aviv.

Part of the crowd spilled onto the runway and surrounded an aircraft.

Russia's aviation agency Rosaviatsiya later stated that security forces had taken control of the situation.

The airport was closed on Sunday evening, and Rosaviatsiya announced on Monday that it would tentatively reopen on Tuesday.

The agency also mentioned that flights from Israel to the North Caucasus would be "temporarily redirected to other cities," without specifying further details.

Sixty suspected mafia members have been arrested, according to Russian news agencies citing the local interior ministry.

Videos depict hundreds of people storming the airport terminal, with some waving Palestinian flags.

Many in the crowd chanted anti-Semitic slogans, while others chanted "Allahu Akbar," meaning "God is great."

In videos posted on social media, the mob is seen causing havoc inside the terminal, asking airport staff about the whereabouts of "Jews."

One passenger, who said he was on a flight from Tel Aviv, told local media that he was stopped by the mob. He said they let him go after telling him, "Today we don't touch non-Jews."

A local Telegram channel called on people to gather at the airport upon the arrival of the flight and urged participants to search for every Jew there.

Local media reported that some demonstrators stopped cars near the Machachkala airport, demanding to see documents.

According to the Republic's Ministry of Health, 20 people were injured, including several police officers. Some of them sustained serious injuries, with two in critical condition.

Dagestan is a predominantly Muslim Russian republic in the North Caucasus with a population of about 3.1 million people on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. The country's government stated that a criminal case has been initiated in connection with the civil unrest.

Rabbi Ovadia Isakov, the rabbi of the Dagestani city of Derbent, told local media that the future of around 300-400 Jewish families in Dagestan is in question. Jews have been present in the region since pre-Islamic times.

In the office of the Israeli Prime Minister, it was stated that Russia must take decisive action against the incitement of violence against Jews and Israelis.

White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrian Watson tweeted, "The United States strongly condemns the anti-Semitic protests in Dagestan."

"The United States unequivocally supports the entire Jewish community as we witness a surge in anti-Semitism worldwide. There can never be any justification or excuse for anti-Semitism," said a representative of the White House National Security Council.

The government of Dagestan expressed its support for Gaza but urged citizens to remain calm and not participate in such protests. Mass protests against Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have taken place worldwide.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov blamed "external interference" for the unrest but provided no evidence for his claim.

Dagestan Governor Sergei Melikov condemned the mob's invasion of the airport in a message on Telegram.

"There is no honor in insulting strangers, searching their pockets for passports!" he wrote. He condemned "attacks on women with children."

According to him, the actions of the mob were a "stab in the back" to Dagestani patriots, including those fighting in Ukraine as part of the Russian armed forces.

"What happened at our airport is outrageous and should receive an appropriate assessment from law enforcement agencies. This will be done," he said.

Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Israeli ambassador in Moscow is working with Russian authorities, adding that Israel "takes seriously attempts to harm Israeli citizens and Jews anywhere."

"Israel expects Russian law enforcement agencies to protect all Israeli citizens and Jews, wherever they may be, and to take resolute action against participants in riots and against unbridled incitement against Jews and Israelis," the ministry said in a statement.