A crowd stormed the airport in the Russian city of Makhachkala in Dagestan province on Sunday after rumors spread that a plane from Israel was arriving.
A crowd carrying Palestinian flags harassed passengers they thought were from Israel or Jewish, demanding that they return to their nation if they were from Israel.
Israel responded by saying that Russia must protect Israeli and Jewish citizens. The governor of Dagestan promised that those responsible for the incident would be punished.
There were several dozen protesters, many chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest), who broke through airport security, doors, and barriers, and some even ran onto the tarmac to protest in front of the plane, which they believed was carrying Israelis and Jews.
An unverified video shared by Visegrad 24 showed a man claiming to be from Uzbekistan talking to a crowd demanding to see his passport and phone.
Several local Telegram channels showed photos and videos of dozens of men waiting outside the airport to stop cars.
In the videos, one protester was seen holding a sign reading “Child killers have no place in Dagestan.” Other videos showed a crowd inside the airport terminal trying to break down the doors as staff tried to dissuade them.
The unrest, according to the Guardian, may have been inspired by a series of posts on Telegram saying that a plane would arrive from Tel Aviv that evening with refugees from Israel.
The crowd also held placards reading “We are against Jewish refugees”.
A Guardian report said police stood by as hundreds of protesters poured into the airport’s main terminal. They entered restricted areas and demanded that customs officials divert arriving passengers to the crowd.
Their report also highlighted that followers of Utro Dagestan, one of the Telegram accounts that carries news mixed with conspiracy theories, were told to storm the airport and interrogate passengers, demanding that they condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza.
The Telegram account called on local people to watch the arriving Israelis take photos of their vehicles and note down the addresses where they were staying.
Shortly after the incident, the Russian aviation agency Rosaviatsija announced that the Makhachkala airport was closed to both incoming and outgoing flights and that security forces had arrived at the scene.
Authorities said in a telegram message that “the situation is under control.” Dagestan authorities said some people were injured, but did not specify how many or who were injured.
Late Sunday, Rosaviatsiya announced that the airport had been “liberated” from the crowd and would remain closed until November 6.
Hamas gunmen struck across the Gaza border on October 7 in the deadliest attack in Israel’s history, killing 1,400 people indiscriminately, mostly civilians, and kidnapping 230 others, according to Israeli officials.
In retaliation, Israel bombed the coastal strip relentlessly, killing more than 8,000 people, half of them children, the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory said.
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