The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Naryn-Kala fortress in Dagestan, in which shots were fired at a tour group, killing one and wounding 11 others.
“A statement posted to IS’s main channel on the Telegram messaging app said the attack had targeted Russian intelligence agency officers,” the BBC reports.
Although initial reports described the slain victim as a border policeman, RT.com now says “the person killed was a warrant officer with the FSB (the Russian Federal Security Service),” while one of the injured was “a member of the Russian border service from the city of Bryansk.”
RT.com also reports security agencies believe there were three attackers, rather than the originally reported two, identifying the leader of the group as Abutdin Khanmagomedov.
The Interpreter names the other two gunmen as Radzhap Ismailov and Nariman Bashirov, and says their gang, called “Yuzhnaya,” has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State. The same group allegedly fired shots at fire trucks a few weeks ago. All three suspects remain at large.
AFP translates the message from ISIS militants as: “With the help of Allah, the warriors of the caliphate were able to attack a group of Russian special service officers in the city of Derbent in southern Dagestan, killing one officer and injuring the others.”
Both AFP and The Interpreter quote regional sources who doubt the Islamic State has penetrated the Caucasus as thoroughly as it would like, theorizing that local militant groups are pledging allegiance to ISIS more in hope of securing financial support than out of ideological fellowship. ISIS and al-Qaeda are very keen to convey the impression that they can conduct large-scale operations on Russian soil, following Russia’s intervention in Syria.