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Dagestan church shooter has no connection to Islam — head of Chechnya

According to Ramzan Kadyrov, it is important to find out who encouraged the shooter to carry out the attack

GROZNY, February 19. /TASS/. The man who carried out a shooting attack on an Orthodox church in Kizlyar, a town in the Russian North Caucasus region of Dagestan, has no connection to Islam, Head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov said.

"One can say with certainty that the bandit and his patrons, in case he had any, do not have any direct or indirect connection to Islam," Kadyrov wrote on Telegram. "The North Caucasus has always been a region of close cooperation and mutual understanding between Muslims and Christians. So today, it is our duty to deter assaults on our heritage that instigators and Russia’s enemies may make," he added.

According to Kadyrov, it is important to find out who encouraged the shooter to carry out the attack. "Those linked to him deserve to be severely punished," the head of Chechnya stressed.

On Sunday, an armed man opened gunfire at people leaving an Orthodox church in Kizlyar, killing five and wounding four people, including police and National Guard officers. The gunman was shot dead by the police while trying to flee the scene.

The man was identified as a 22-year-old local resident Khalil Khalilov. Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case under Articles 105.2 (murder with aggravating circumstances) and 317 (attempt on the life of a law enforcer) of the Russian Criminal Code.

Kizlyar, located 170 kilometers from Dagestan’s capital of Makhachkala, has a population of around 50,000. People of ten ethnic groups live in the town, with Russians accounting for about 40% of the population.