At least 20 people have been injured after hundreds of anti-Israel protesters in Russia stormed an airport to attack Israelis arriving on a flight from Tel Aviv on Sunday, with some members of the mob declaring they were there to kill Jews.
The mob stormed an airport in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim region, searching for Israelis and Jews who arrived on a Red Wings flight a little after 7 p.m. local time.
Authorities reportedly detained 60 rioters, and while there do not appear to have been any casualties, nine police officers and 20 people were injured.
As The Jerusalem Post reported, citing a local news agency, 150 people considered the most active protestors have been identified. While pilots had received warnings about a mob, the rioters found the plane carrying Israelis after it was rerouted to a local airport.
Flight staff locked all of the aircraft exits, and security forces stated that they had identified the Jews and Israelis in the group and planned to evacuate them to Moscow “at the earliest convenience,” according to The Jerusalem Post.
Footage circulating on social media showed the mob storming the airport, with some people waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Allahu Akbar.” According to The Jerusalem Post, one rioter declared, “‘We are here for the Jews. We came to kill them with knives and shoot at them.'”
Another video shows a man surrounded by a crowd of people demanding to see his passport and his phone to ensure he is not a Jew. While the man insisted that he was from Uzbekistan, the mob refused to let him pass until it had verified his identity.
In other videos published online, flight staff can be heard advising passengers to remain in their seats, warning them about an angry mob. The crowd was also seen forcibly entering the terminal building in another video as a security guard said to them, “You will kill people.”
Additional videos show the crowd stating that they know a bus has Jews on it, and separate footage shows the mob standing on the tarmac as an airport employee informs them that the airline passengers have left.
In the nearby town of Khasavyurt, rioters also stormed a hotel that the Israelis had reportedly fled to, demanding to know where they were hiding. Citing a local news report, The Jerusalem Post reported the riots in Khasavyurt began after someone noticed “a person resembling an Israeli citizen” walking near the hotel.
“I went into every room, I checked every person. I looked at the passport, looked at the face to see if this face corresponded to the passport. There are no [Jews] there, brothers, you are simply being provoked. We need to go home. Well done to everyone who came; you’re all caring,” one rioter said, according to a report from the Russian radio station Echo FM.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Council released a statement Sunday, stating that they are monitoring the situation in light of the riot.
“Israel expects 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 joint statement read.
According to the press release, Israeli Ambassador to Russia Alex Ben Zvi is working with Russian authorities to “secure the well-being of Jews and Israelis at the site.”
In a Sunday X post, White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson stated that the United States “vigorously” condemns the anti-Semitic protests that occurred in Dagestan, declaring that the country stands with the Jewish community.
“There is never any excuse or justification for antisemitism,” Watson wrote.
Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly met with security forces on Monday in response to the airport riot, according to pro-Kremlin news agencies Interfax and TASS, citing Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov.
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