Russia: Dagestan airport witnesses anti-Semitic protest, flight from Israel targeted

Amid the ongoing conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas, anti-Semitic slogans were raised inside an airport in Russia's Dagestan region by hundreds of pro-Palestine supporters, who stormed the facility on Sunday (October 29, 2023) to protest against a flight arriving from the Jewish nation, triggering a chaotic situation.

Hundreds of pro-Palestine supporters stormed an airport in Russia's Dagestan region on Sunday. Caption: Photo Courtesy: George Deek X page

Video footage on social media showed an angry crowd running through the airport in Makhachkala, reportedly seeking people arriving from Tel Aviv, reported BBC.

According to reports, some protesters ran onto the runway and surrounded the aircraft.

The Russian aviation agency said the situation was later brought under control.

Rosaviatsia added that the airport would be "provisionally closed" until November 6, BBC reported.

Video clips showed hundreds of people storming the airport terminal, with some waving Palestinian flags and shouting "Allahu Akbar", the British media house reported.

According to reports, 20 people were injured during the incident.

"Doctors from republican hospitals are treating ten victims are treating 10 injured in the incident at Makhachkala airport. There are moderate to severe injuries among both police officers and civilians. Two people are in critical condition. Doctors are doing everything they can to save their patients’ lives. Over ten more people with minor injuries sought outpatient medical care," Ministry of Health said in its Telegram channel as quoted by TASS.

The Israeli Prime Minister's Office has urged the Russian authorities to take strong action against the rioters.

"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," read the statement issued by the office.

Meanwhile, the incident was criticised by Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
He wrote on X: "The scenes emerging from Makhachkala’s airport in Russia are deeply disturbing. Antisemitism is never acceptable. Hatred – in all its forms – is unacceptable. Period. We must stand together against it – wherever and whenever it occurs."

The crisis, sparked by militant group Hamas' attack and ongoing Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, is a "political and humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions" said the UN’s independent human rights expert for the Occupied Palestinian Territory this week.

In an interview with UN News, UN Human Rights Council-appointed expert Francesca Albanese, said it was “impossible to describe the pain and suffering that Israelis are going through because of what happened to them…because there are not only those who were killed, those who were taken hostage, but there is an entire population that was completely shaken”.

But describing the UN chief’s words to the Security Council last Tuesday when he noted that the brutal attacks by Hamas fighters of 7 October “did not occur in a vacuum” as “brave”, she stressed Gazans have “already suffered five deadly wars…during the period Israel has declared an unlawful blockade over the Gaza Strip, entrapping 2.2 million people”.

And since 7 October "they have been recklessly bombarded with an average of 6,000 bombs launched per week”, she added.