There are shocking and surreal scenes coming out of the southern Russian Republic of Dagestan, after word spread that a flight from Tel Aviv was set to land at its international airport.
Rumors that a flight full of Israeli Jews was set to land triggered Muslim mobs to raid the airport, where they broke past barriers and even at one point stormed the airstrip in search of Jews.
"A flight from Israel to the Russian Republic of Dagestan earlier today was forced to divert from its intended destination in the capital of Makhachkala after pro-Palestinians protesters stormed the airport, seeking to attack the Israeli arrivals, according to multiple reports," Times of Israel (TOI) described of the chaotic scene.
Several videos have emerged showing angry rioters yelling "Allahu Akbar" while seeking to intercept offboarding passengers from the Israeli flight.
A Russian Pilot telling Passengers on a Plane at Makhachkala International Airport in Dagestan to not attempt to Open any of the Doors due to the Rioters on the Tarmac which are trying to enter the Aircraft. pic.twitter.com/lwTW0Zg3V6— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) October 29, 2023
It appears police or security personnel were nowhere in sight as the mob, reportedly mainly made up of Palestinians who live in Dagestan, rampaged through the terminal.
"Dagestan’s population is overwhelmingly Muslim," TOI noted. "According to Channel 12, the crowd was apparently largely made up of Palestinian expats."
The flight from Tel Aviv either diverted or took off after briefly landing. There are reports that the mob tried to break into a plane on the tarmac. Some reports say that the aircraft which was surrounded was full of Russian citizens.
Regional media said the group went so far as to begin checking the IDs of travelers exiting the airport by car:
Some of the signs held by demonstrators read “Child killers have no place in Dagestan” and “We are against Jewish refugees.”
The independent Medizona news website reported that the demonstration was prompted by calls spread on the Telegram messaging app earlier on Sunday to block a plane scheduled to arrive directly from the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.
According to local media, some of the demonstrators were stopping cars outside Makhachkala's airport to check the personal identification documents of drivers and passengers as they searched for Israeli citizens among the motorists.
The flight from Tel Aviv landed at 7:17 p.m. local time, according to the airport's website, after which the protesters stormed into the airport, breaking past security and running onto the tarmac.
One group of people who ran onto the airport's tarmac surrounded a plane and jumped onto one of its wings, the pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia reported.
The FT's Moscow correspondent Max Seddon wrote of one video, "Remarkable to see security forces in Russia standing by for so long. By now, according to Baza, police in Makhachkala have chased them off the runway and outside the airport, where they are now protesting."
The Dagestan airport was forced to temporarily close as the military and police belatedly tried to gain control of the situation and restore order. Per regional N12 News:
"Security official: the event in [Dagestan] is not over yet. A relatively small number of Israelis and Jews are isolated and secured at the airport. We are working for them to take off from there for an onward flight to Moscow as soon as the conditions allow."
When word spread that a plane from Tel Aviv was landing in Dagestan, Russia, a mob stormed the airport in what can only be described as a modern-day pogrom. pic.twitter.com/1G6phfdraz— Aviva Klompas (@AvivaKlompas) October 29, 2023
Some observers are speculating that security forces essentially turned a blind eye and allowed the disturbing scene to happen.
It is indeed remarkable that given the typical high security nature of international airports, the mob so easily breached all security checkpoints and overwhelmed both the terminal and tarmac.