Father Sergiy, the priest at Archangel Michael Church, said a service was being held when participants heard shots and chants of “Allahu akbar” outside. He told the Russian state RIA Novosti news agency they scrambled to shut the doors and secured the bolts just as the assailants tried to break in. (AP)
Gunmen kill two police officers and one worshipper as they try to storm Russian Orthodox church in Chechen city which will host Egypt in World Cup (Daily Mail)
- According to reports they were armed with guns, knives, axes and petrol bombs
- They attacked the church in Grozny, in the mainly Muslim province of Chechnya
- Attackers tried to take hostages Archangel Michael Church in centre of Grozny
- The city will not see any matches during the World Cup but will be Egypt’s base
- He said one parishioner who was outside was killed, while the person injured was inside the church.
The Chechen leader said three of the attackers were residents of Chechnya and one came from a neighboring region. He alleged that intelligence data indicated they had received orders for the attack “from a Western nation.”
Gunmen Attack Church in Russia’s Chechnya Region, Killing 3
The police outside the Archangel Michael Church in Grozny, Chechnya, site of an attack by gunmen on Saturday.CreditMusa Sadulayev/Associated Press
By Ivan Nechepurenko and Megan Special, NY Times, May 19, 2018
MOSCOW — Four gunmen stormed a church in Russia’s predominantly Muslim region of Chechnya on Saturday, killing at least one churchgoer and two police officers, according to authorities.
All the attackers were killed in an exchange of gunfire with the police at the Archangel Michael Church in the center of Grozny, the capital, according to the Investigative Committee of Russia, an internal security agency.
The gunmen initially took hostages, the leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, said, adding that the assailants were armed with knives, hatchets and homemade explosives as well.
It was not immediately clear whether there was any link between the attackers and extremist groups. But Chechnya has experienced attacks by Islamist extremists before, including those who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Women and men from majority Muslim areas of Russia, including Chechnya, have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State there, and dozens have begun to return as the group has lost most of its territory.
The restive region of Chechnya was the site of two separatist wars in the 1990s. Following those conflicts, Mr. Kadyrov, with the backing of the Russian government, has cracked down on dissent. Human rights groups have accused his forces of abuses including torture, kidnapping and murder.
Grozny once had a substantial ethnic Russian, Christian population but most of them fled during the wars. The church that was attacked Saturday is in the center of the city and was at the heart of some of the battles of the 1990s.
Mr. Kadyrov condemned Saturday’s assault and said he immediately went to the church and was with the police as they responded. He vowed to crush anyone who attempted attacks in his region.
“I once again very seriously declare that you can try to commit any actions aimed at undermining the security of the residents of Grozny and other settlements,” he said. “But anyone who makes the first step along this path will be immediately destroyed.” He made the statement via the Telegram messaging app, where he regularly posts information after being kicked off both Instagram and Facebook after he was added to a United States sanctions list.
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