Screaming “Allahu Akbar,” an enraged mob tried to break into a parked aircraft with passengers and crew inside.
A mob shouting anti-Jewish epithets stormed and shut down the airport in the Russian city of Makhachkala in the predominantly Muslim region of Daghestan after a flight arrived from Israel on Sunday night.
The crowds were filmed ‘questioning’ random people at the airport’s terminal to determine whether they were Jewish, and also swarmed just-landed planes with the apparent intent of entering the aircraft.
“Take his passport, search his phone,” the mob shouted when they found a suspected Jew, according to video posted on the X social media platform.
In one video, a child said he “came for the Jews,” and that he brought a knife.
The unrest at the airport was apparently prompted by rumors spread on local social media channels claiming that a flight from Tel Aviv inbound for Makhachkala was carrying a group of “Jewish refugees,” purportedly fleeing the conflict between the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel.
Riot police arrived at the airport, while the Interior Ministry office in Makhachkala said reinforcements, including National Guard units, were being sent to “ensure the safety” of arriving passengers, according to the Baza Telegram channel.
Russia’s aviation authority later said the airport would remain closed until November 6.
“After unidentified persons appeared in the landing area of the Makhachkala airport it was decided to temporarily close the airport for arrivals and departures,” it said. “Flights that were to land in Makhachkala have been directed to other airports.”
Elsewhere, a mob swarmed a hotel in Dagestan, shouting threats about a Jewish guest.
“Show your face, or we will come into the hotel and pull you out of there!” the horde threatened.
Anti-Jewish protests have broken out in several cities in the region in the face of Israel’s war with the terrorist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry on October 29 demanded that Russia protect Israelis and Jews and that anyone threatening them be apprehended.
“Israel expects the Russian authorities to protect all Israeli citizens and all Jews, and to act decisively against the rioters and against incitement to violence against Jews and Israelis,” a statement said.
Late on October 29, videos and photos from the scene published by RFE/RL’s CaucausRealities indicated that protesters had stormed onto the Makhachkala runway and attempted to gain entry to the incoming plane.
A local news Telegram channel reported that protesters were trying to check the identities of arriving passengers, attempting to prevent Jews from leaving the airport, including searching police vehicles.
A protester was seen in one unconfirmed video carrying a sign saying, “Child killers have no place in Daghestan.”
Screaming “Allahu Akbar,” men in the crowd tried to storm aboard a parked aircraft.
Daghestani officials accused “enemies of Russia” of instigating the anti-Semitic sentiments after the Coordination Center of Muslims of the North Caucasus called on authorities to prevent refugees from Israel from entering the republic, according to the Caucasian Knot publication.
The Internal Affairs Ministry said that “against the background of the situation in Makhachkala, the identities of all those who take part in the riots will be established, since video surveillance works at the airport.”
“We recommend that all persons who have violated the operating procedures of the [airport] to cease the illegal actions and to not interfere with the work of airport employees,” a Telegram statement said.
Anti-Semitic rallies took place over the weekend in other cities of the North Caucasus protesting against Israel’s military campaign.
The Middle East conflict broke out after Hamas terrorists stormed Israel on October 7, killing hundreds of people and taking more than 200 hostage.
On October 28, a rally was held in Cherkessk, the capital of the Karachayevo-Cherkessia Republic, demanding that residents of Israel not be allowed into the republic.
With reporting from RFE/RL’s Caucasus Realities and Tass