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Gunmen Attack Synagogues and Churches in Russian Republic

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Gunmen attacked synagogues and churches in two cities in southern Russia on Sunday, killing multiple police officers and a priest, in an apparently coordinated assault that underscored Russia’s vulnerability to extremist violence.

Officials said six of the gunmen were killed after shootouts in the two cities, Makhachkala and Derbent, in the predominantly Muslim region of Dagestan on the Caspian Sea. Wielding rifles and Molotov cocktails, they attacked a synagogue and a church in each of the two cities, according to the authorities and religious organizations.

Sergei Melikov, Dagestan’s governor, described the attack as the latest assault “on our fraternity, on our multiethnic unity.”

The precise death toll was not immediately clear. Mr. Melikov said that “more than 15 police officers fell victim to today’s terrorist attack,” without specifying how many of them were killed and how many were wounded.

The motives and identities of the gunmen were also unclear, and there was no claim of responsibility for the attack. Russia’s Investigative Committee, an analogue to the F.B.I., said it had begun a terrorism investigation.

The attack was the latest outburst of apparent extremist violence inside Russia as the country fights its war against neighboring Ukraine. Four gunmen killed 145 people at a Moscow concert hall in March in an attack for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility. And in Dagestan last October, an antisemitic mob stormed a plane arriving from Tel Aviv.

In Derbent, the attackers set fire to a synagogue after shooting and killing the police officers who were guarding it, the Russian Jewish Congress said. They also killed a priest, Nikolai Kotelnikov, according to a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church. The priest was the only confirmed victim of Sunday’s attack who was not a law-enforcement officer, although Mr. Melikov said “several” civilians had been killed.

At about the same time, early Sunday evening, gunmen also opened fire on a traffic police post in Makhachkala, according to state media reports. The attackers’ targets also included Makhachkala’s Cathedral of the Assumption, according to state media reports, and a synagogue, according to the Russian Jewish Congress.

Videos posted by Dagestan’s interior ministry showed gunmen on the loose in the city of Makhachkala, opening fire and forcing people out of their cars. At one point, police said roads leading out of the city were blocked. It remained unclear late Sunday whether any gunmen remained at large, though Mr. Melikov said the “active phase” of the police response was over.

The mayhem highlighted the long-running ethnic and religious tensions in Russia, particularly in the country’s southern Caucasus region, which includes Dagestan. Patriarch Kirill I, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said it was “no coincidence” that the attack took place on the day Orthodox Christians observe Pentecost.

“We see that the enemy is not giving up on attempts to destroy interreligious peace and harmony within our society,” Kirill said in a statement.

Left unsaid was who, exactly, the enemy was. There was no comment from the Kremlin and the authorities said little about the identities of the attackers, though some state media reports said some of the gunmen may have been sons of a local official.

After the March shooting at a Moscow concert hall — Russia’s deadliest terrorist attack in 20 years — Russian officials repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that Ukraine and the West were behind the violence, even though the Islamic State claimed responsibility for it.

On Sunday, some Russian politicians also pointed a finger at the West, without evidence. Leonid Slutsky, a senior lawmaker, claimed that the attacks had “the aim of sowing panic and dividing the people of Russia” and that “the blood of the victims” was also on the hands of the United States.

The attacks were the latest incident to rattle Russia’s Jewish community, which has faced increased threats since the beginning of the war in Gaza, according to community leaders. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was in contact with Jewish community leaders in Dagestan, and that there were no known casualties among that community.



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Philadelphia shooting at big block party leaves 3 dead, 7 injured

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A mass shooting of 10 people in West Philadelphia early Sunday morning has resulted in three deaths, according to local reports.

The shooting, possibly at a block party with more than 100 people, happened in the 1200 block of North Alden Street, FOX 29’s Steve Keeley posted to X. 

Some of the shooting victims were taken by police to the hospital, while others were driven away by neighbors.

Images from the scene show the shooting happened on a residential street.

PHILADELPHIA DEM DA SLAMMED OVER SUSPECTED OFFICER KILLER’S PUNISHMENT

Investigators at Philly mass shooting on residential street

A mass shooting of 10 people was reported in the 1200 block of North Alden Street in west Philadelphia. (WTXF)

The people killed were in their 20s and 30s, according to FOX 29. Their identities have not been released. 

Conditions of the at least seven injured range from stable to serious, but their ages and identities are not yet known. 

SUSPECT CHARGED IN SHOOTING OF PHILADELPHIA POLICE OFFICER WHO REMAINS ‘ON LIFE SUPPORT’

Philly PD Crime Scene Unit

Crime scene unit investigators with Philadelphia Police Department at the scene of a mass shooting early Sunday, July 21, 2024.  (WTXF)

Several shell casings and one weapon were found at the scene, FOX 29 reports. 

Whoever is responsible for the shooting is still on the loose. It is possible there is more than one gunman, police told FOX 29. 

Philly PD at mass shooting scene

Philadelphia police on the scene of a mass shooting in the 200 block of North Alden Street in West Philadelphia.  (WTXF)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Fox News Digital is waiting to hear back from the police with more information. 

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.



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Eluned Morgan considering running as Vaughan Gething;s successor

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Health Secretary Eluned Morgan is “giving serious consideration” to standing to replace Vaughan Gething as Wales’ first minister.

Welsh Labour has confirmed it will elect Mr Gething’s successor by mid September after the first minister quit on Tuesday when three ministers and his chief legal adviser all resigned following months of interparty disputes.

Ms Morgan said she was looking at “unity ticket” with fellow Senedd cabinet member Huw Irranca-Davies running as her deputy.

She told BBC Politics Wales she had “a considerable amount of support” across Labour but would not be drawn on whether she has the required six nominations to get on the ballot paper.

The party’s politicians in the Senedd have until noon on Wednesday to decide who they are backing in the leadership contest.

One of the ministers who quit on Tuesday – former Economy Secretary Jeremy Miles – is expected to run.

BBC Wales was told he already had the support of enough of his colleagues to secure his place on the ballot paper.

Supporters of Mr Gething claimed Mr Miles – whom he narrowly defeated in the last leadership race – would not be able to unite the Labour party in the Senedd .

Ms Morgan said she hoped to confirm her bid in “the next few hours or days”.

She said she had “considerable amount of support… from the different sections of the Labour party,” adding “you don’t need to belong to any particular faction” to support her.

“If I were to stand, then I would be standing on a ticket along with Huw Irranca-Davies, who was a Jeremy Miles supporter, so it would be a unity ticket.

“This is something that we are testing. There’s been a huge groundswell of support within the party for that idea.

“People want to look to the future. They want to look to the next election and they want us to refocus of delivering for the people of Wales.”



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Monterey Park teen missing after taking her bike to visit a relative

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Police are searching for a 15-year-old Monterey Park girl who disappeared Tuesday after leaving home on her bicycle.

Alison Jillian Chao left her residence in the 200 block of North Ynez Avenue in Monterey Park around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to visit a relative’s house in the nearby city of San Gabriel, but never arrived, according to the Monterey Park Police Department. A search was initiated within hours, police said.

Signs affixed to street lights and utility poles in her neighborhood and in nearby Alhambra say Alison was wearing a blue T-shirt and black shorts and carrying a black backpack when she departed on a blue mountain bike. The posters include an image of Alison peddling away from home with her hair in a ponytail.

Police described the teen as Asian with black hair and brown eyes. She is about 5 feet 2 and weighs around 96 pounds.

According to a website dedicated to finding her, the last confirmed sighting of Alison was on Main Street in Alhambra soon after she left home Tuesday.

“The more time that goes on, the scarier it gets,” the teen’s mother, Annie Chao, told KTLA on Friday. “I haven’t slept in days, and it’s just every parent’s worst nightmare.”

Those with information should call the Monterey Park Police Department at 626-573-1311.

Times staff writer Karen Kaplan contributed to this report.





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