(BBC) Israel has urged Russia to protect “all its citizens and all Jews” after a large mob shouting antisemitic slogans stormed a Dagestan airport.
Video footage on social media showed an angry crowd running through the airport in Makhachkala seeking people arriving on a flight from Tel Aviv.
Some of the crowd ran on to the runway and surrounded aircraft there.
Russia’s aviation agency Rosaviatsia said security forces later brought the situation under control.
The airport was closed on Sunday night. On Monday, Rosaviatsia said the airport had reopened. The agency added that flights from Israel to the North Caucasus would be “temporarily redirected to other cities”.
Sixty alleged mob participants have been arrested, Russian news agencies say, citing the local interior ministry.
Video clips showed hundreds of people storming the airport terminal, with some waving Palestinian flags.
Many in the crowd shouted antisemitic slogans, while others chanted “Allahu Akbar” – God is greatest.
Video posted on social media showed a mob rampaging through the terminal, asking staff where the “Jews” were.
An Israeli passenger told Ynet that rioters stopped a bus carrying passengers and asked every person if they were Muslim or Jewish. “It was lucky that the Israelis on the plane spoke Russian,” he said. “I saw death on that bus.”
One passenger, who said he was on the flight from Tel Aviv, told local media that he was stopped by the crowd. He said he was let go after rioters told him: “We are not touching non-Jews today.”
A local Telegram channel encouraged people to gather at the airport at the time of the flight’s arrival and encouraged participants to search for every Jewish person there.
Local media reported that some demonstrators were stopping cars outside Makhachkala’s airport demanding to see documents.
Twenty people were injured, including some police officers, the republic’s health ministry said. Some have serious injuries and two are in critical condition.
Dagestan is a mainly Muslim Russian republic in the North Caucasus, home to some 3.1 million people on the western edge of the Caspian Sea. Its government said a criminal case had been opened for civil disorder.
The rabbi of the Dagestani city of Derbent, Ovadia Isakov, told local media that the future of the estimated 300-400 Jewish families in Dagestan was in doubt. Jews have had a presence in the region since pre-Islamic times.
The Israeli prime minister’s office said Russia had to act decisively against incitement to violence against Jews and Israelis.
A US presidential spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, said in a tweet that “the United States vigorously condemns the antisemitic protests in Dagestan”.
“The US unequivocally stands with the entire Jewish community as we witness a worldwide surge in antisemitism. There is never any excuse or justification for antisemitism,” the White House National Security Council spokesperson said.
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