Russian Rioters Storm Dagestan Airport Searching for Israelis: Videos

Videos have begun to circulate online showing alleged rioters in Russia purportedly storming a flight from Israel in an attempt to attack Jewish passengers.

The incident took place at a local airport on Sunday evening local time in Makhachkala, a city in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, according to The Jerusalem Post. A crowd reported to be local residents stormed a plane arriving from Tel Aviv, the second-most-populous city in Israel.

According to footage from the scene viewed by the newspaper, some of the locals could be heard chanting “Allahu Akbar” as they stopped cars and checked passports, looking to see if travelers were Jewish or Israeli. Russian state-owned news outlet RIA Novosti reported that local police and National Guard officers were present at the scene, and that the airport was shut down following the arrival of the rioters.

The incident comes amid an intense renewed conflict between Israeli forces and the Hamas militant group in Gaza. On October 7, Hamas led the deadliest Palestinian militant attack on Israel in history, with Israel subsequently launching its heaviest-ever airstrikes on Gaza in response. As of Sunday, over 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, the Associated Press reported. More than 8,000 Palestinians in Gaza have died, the AP said.

israeli flight riot in russia
An Israeli commercial airliner is seen. A crowd of rioters reportedly gathered at a Russian airport on Sunday night, attempting to intercept any Jewish or Israeli passengers.
Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

In a post to X, the platform previously known as Twitter, Olexander Scherba, the ambassador for strategic communications at the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shared clips allegedly taken at the airport, one showing a crowd shouting as they jump a barricade onto what appears to be a tarmac, the other showing a general scene of a crowd loudly shouting, potentially interrogating a man in the middle of the scene. In his post, Scherba also claimed that police at the scene did not interfere with the rioters.

Newsweek could not independently verify the videos, but the riot was widely covered by Russian media.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the pilots of the plane had reportedly been notified of the rioters, causing them to reroute to a different airport than was initially planned. The crowd was, nevertheless, able to reach the other airport as well. Rosaviatsia, the Russian aviation authority, reported that only a small number of the flight’s passengers were Israeli or Jewish. These individuals were secured in the airport and were set to be transported to Moscow “at the earliest convenience.” The agency later reported that all rioters had been cleared away by around 10:20 p.m. local time.

Other videos circulating on social media appear to show rioters moving through the interior of the airport, and later walking on the wing of the plane in an attempt to get inside.

Newsweek reached out to Israeli officials via email for comment.

Meanwhile in Russia: aggressive crowd at Makhachkala International Airport in Dagestan is chanting “Allahu Akbar,” stopping cars, trying to get to the plane from Israel that just landed there. They’re said to be “looking for Jews.”

— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) October 29, 2023

In a statement made to the Associated Press, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s office said the country “expects the Russian law enforcement authorities to protect the safety of all Israeli citizens and Jews wherever they may be and to act resolutely against the rioters and against the wild incitement directed against Jews and Israelis.” The statement also noted that the Israeli ambassador to Russia was working on the situation.

In a statement made to its official Telegram account, the regional Dagestani government wrote, “We urge residents of the republic to treat the current situation in the world with understanding. Federal authorities and international organizations are making every effort to bring about a ceasefire against Gaza civilians…we urge residents of the republic not to succumb to the provocations of destructive groups and not to create panic in society.”

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