Plane targeted at Dagestan airport struck again by mob after diversion

Terror on Flight WZ4728: How hate mob demanded passengers’ passports as they hunted Jews when plane from Tel Aviv landed at airport in Russia’s heavily Muslim Dagestan region – sparking horrifying stand-off that saw shots fired and dozens hurt

  • Hundreds of protestors stormed the Makhachkala airport in the Russian republic 

A plane was targeted at an airport in Dagestan by an anti-Semitic mob who demanded to see passengers’ passports.

Israeli passengers onboard flight WZ4728 from Tel Aviv were caught in chaos on Sunday at Makhachkala airport in the Russian republic after people stormed the airstrip. 

The protesters, some carrying Palestinian flags, broke through doors in the terminal, with some running onto the runway while others broke barriers, aiming to check the cars leaving the airport for Israeli passengers, according to videos posted online. 

Passengers were told to stay in their seats before riot police were called in to help them off the plane, according to Israeli television network Channel 12. 

One witness said: ‘There were hundreds of people at the airport. About 50 men approached the airplane and asked passengers if they were Jews. I said no. I’m Russian. They wanted to see my passport. I had a Russian passport.’ 

Israeli passengers onboard flight WZ4728 from Tel Aviv (pictured) were caught in chaos on Sunday

The protesters, some carrying Palestinian flags, broke through doors in the terminal building 

Hundreds of protestors stormed the Makhachkala airport in the Russian republic to protest the landing of an airliner coming from Tel Aviv

The protesters broke through doors in the terminal, with some running onto the runway

Dagestan’s main airport is located in the capital city of Makhachkala

Many people in the crowd that stormed the Makhachkala airport were reportedly chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ while others were shouting antisemitic slogans, according to Russsian news agencies. 

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Video on social media showed some in the crowd waving Palestinian flags, with one protester seen holding a sign reading ‘Child killers have no place in Dagestan’. 

Footage also showed protesters attempting to overturn a police car and others checking the passports of passengers who had arrived in Makhachkala, according to the AFP. 

The majority of Dagestan residents are Muslim and the region is reportedly regarded as an important centre of Islam in the Caucasus and former Soviet Union. 

Dagestan’s Ministry of Health said more than 20 people were injured, with two in critical condition. It said the injured included police officers and civilians. 

‘As a result of the incident at Makhachkala airport there are injured (people), who are receiving medical help,’ Dagestan’s health ministry said on Telegram. 

Russia’s aviation authority Rosaviatsia reportedly closed the airport and said that all ‘unauthorised citizens’ had been removed as of 10:20pm local time (7:20pm GMT). 

There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests, according to PA. 

Rosaviatsia added that the airport would tentatively remain closed to incoming aircraft until November 6. 

People stormed on to the runway aiming to check the plane that had landed at the airport 

Others were videod breaking doors and broke barriers, with some aiming to check the cars leaving the airport

In a statement released on Sunday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel ‘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.’ 

Netanyahu’s office added that the Israeli ambassador to Russia was working with Russia to keep Israelis and Jews safe.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs for Russia’s North Caucasian Federal District, where Dagestan is located, stated that CCTV footage would be used to establish the identities of those who stormed the airport, and that those involved would be brought to justice.

While voicing support for Gaza, the regional Dagestani government appealed to citizens to remain calm and not take part in such protests.

‘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,’ the Dagestani government wrote on Telegram.

The Supreme Mufti of Dagestan, Sheikh Akhmad Afandi, called on residents to stop the unrest at the airport. 

‘You are mistaken. This issue cannot be resolved in this way. We understand and perceive your indignation very painfully. … We will solve this issue differently. Not with rallies, but appropriately. Maximum patience and calm for you,’ he said in a video published to Telegram. 

Dagestan Governor Sergei Melikov promised consequences for anyone who took part in the violence.

‘The actions of those who gathered at the Makhachkala airport today are a gross violation of the law! … (W)hat happened at our airport is outrageous and should receive an appropriate assessment from law enforcement agencies! And this will definitely be done!’ he wrote on Telegram.

Video on social media showed some in the crowd on the landing field waving Palestinian flags

He called the protests a ‘knife in the backs of those who gave their lives for the security of the Motherland,’ referring to the 1999 war in Dagestan and troops currently fighting in Ukraine.

The Flightradar website, indicated that a Red Wings flight out of Tel Aviv had landed at Makhachkala at 7pm (4pm GMT).

The independent Russian media outlet Sota said it was a transiting flight that had been due to take off again for Moscow two hours later.

Chechnya and Dagestan are two volatile republics in the Russian Caucasus, both of which have mainly Muslim populations.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also commented on the shocking scenes, taking to X, formerly Twitter, to condemn the ‘appalling’ incident and slamming Russsia for its ‘widespread culture of hatred toward other nations’.

He said: ‘Appalling videos from Makhachkala, Russia, where an angry mob broke into the airport searching for Israeli citizens on the flight from Tel-Aviv. This is not an isolated incident in Makhachkala, but rather part of Russia’s widespread culture of hatred toward other nations, which is propagated by state television, pundits, and authorities. 

‘The Russian foreign minister has made a series of antisemitic remarks in the last year. The Russian President also used antisemitic slurs. For Russian propaganda talking heads on official television, hate rhetoric is routine. 

‘Even the most recent Middle East escalation prompted antisemitic statements from Russian ideologists. Russian antisemitism and hatred toward other nations are systemic and deeply rooted. Hatred is what drives aggression and terror. We must all work together to oppose hatred.’

Earlier on Sunday, the RIA Novosti news agency reported that a Jewish centre in another North Caucasus republic – Kabardino-Balkaria – had been set on fire in the city of Nalchik.

ETurboNews also reported that tires were set on fire outside the centre while Security officials that slogans, such as ‘death to the Jews,’ were spray-painted on the building. 

Meanwhile, on Saturday, a crowd of people surrounded a hotel in Khasavyurt because of a rumor that refugees from Israel were staying there. 

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