An airport in the Russian republic of Dagestan was stormed on Sunday by an angry mob waving Palestinian flags in search of “Jewish refugees” amid rumours of a plane arriving from Israel.
Hoards of young men shouting “Allahu Akbar” and waving Palestinian flags rampaged through the airport in Makhachkala, the capital city of the heavily Muslim Dagestan.
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) October 29, 2023
The Islamic locals reportedly sought to hunt down Jews arriving in the Russian-controlled republic after rumours emerged online of refugees from the Israeli city of Tel Aviv landing at the airport, Russian state media RT reported.
According to the Times of Israel, a flight from Israel was diverted due to the riots and landed at a different airport, but still faced some riots there as well.
Footage on social media and reported on by the Russian media outlet Lenta purportedly showed the mob even breaking onto the runway where they went plane by plane, checking passports and asking if passengers were Jewish.
Protesters stormed the runway
In the video the steward of one of the flights that arrived in Makhachkala asks passengers to urgently return back to the plane. pic.twitter.com/HXKfO7Wnhi
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) October 29, 2023
In one incident, a young man was surrounded by Dagestanis who took his passport and shouted at him: “You are a Jew!”. The man explained, however, that he was not Jewish but rather a traveller from Uzbekistan.
Russian riot police eventually arrived to subdue the mob, however, tensions reportedly remain tense at the time of this reporting, with the protesters reportedly demanding that the police expel Jewish people from Dagestan.
— Russian Market (@runews) October 29, 2023
A joint statement from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel said: “The State of Israel views with utmost gravity attempts to harm Israeli citizens and Jews anywhere.
“The Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Council are monitoring the development of events in southern Russia, in the Dagestan district.
“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.
“Israeli Ambassador to Russia Alex Ben Zvi is working with the Russian authorities to secure the well-being of Jews and Israelis at the site.”
A lynch mob was formed in front of Flamingo Hotel in Dagestan, Russia after a rumour was spread that Jews had arrived to stay at the hotel. The crowd dispersed after every room of the hotel was checked for Jews and the passports of all guests were inspected.
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 29, 2023
The incident comes just days after a similar mob of hundreds of Islamic Dagestan locals ransacked a hotel in the city of Khasavyurt after rumours reportedly emerged on local social media that Israelis had taken up residence in the hotel.
Earlier on October 28, hundreds of residents of Khasavyurt demanded that Israeli citizens be evicted from the hotel. Locals gathered near two hotels in Khasavyurt amid rumours that Israelis had moved in there.
Another hotel was also overrun by a mob, which also demanded that guests show their passports to prove that they were not Jewish. In an apparent attempt to quell the anger of the mob, the hotel’s administrators posted a notice that Jews were prohibited from staying in the hotel and declared that no Jews were in the building.
Sergei Melikov, the Head of the Republic of Dagestan, blamed the incidents on fake news spread on social media which had provoked some “gullible people”.