Five women killed in Dagestan church shooting claimed by Daesh

Five women were shot dead in an apparent radical militant attack on an Orthodox church in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan, as Daesh claimed responsibility for the assault. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 19 February 2018
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Five women killed in Dagestan church shooting claimed by Daesh

MOSCOW: Five women were shot dead in an apparent radical militant attack on an Orthodox church in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan on Sunday, as Daesh claimed responsibility for the assault.
An unidentified gunman fired at worshippers at the church in the town of Kizlyar in the mainly Muslim region, local press reports said.
The regional internal affairs ministry said in a statement that the assailant used a hunting rifle, and that four women were killed on the spot, while the attacker was “eliminated.”
A fifth woman died of her injuries in hospital, health ministry spokeswoman Zalina Mourtazalieva told TASS news agency.
Two Russian police officers were injured in the attack.
According to a local official the assailant was a local man in his early twenties, the Interfax news agency reported.
The Russian RBK daily quoted an Orthodox priest saying the attacker had opened fire on churchgoers following an afternoon service.
“We had finished the mass and were beginning to leave the church. A bearded man ran toward the church shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (’God is greatest’) and killed four people,” Father Pavel told RBK.
“He was carrying a rifle and a knife,” he added.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.
“A soldier of Islam, Khalil Daghestani, attacked” a church in the town of Kizlyar in Dagestan,” Daesh said via the Telegram messaging app.
“He targeted them with his gun, killing five of them and wounding four others,” it added.
A spokesman for Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill strongly condemned the attack, branding it a “monstrous crime” aimed at “provoking a confrontation between Orthodox Christians and Muslims” in the North Caucasus.
Images published by the local press showed the body of a bearded man dressed in military fatigues who was identified as the assailant.
Next to his corpse lay two of his victims, covered in a white shroud.
Dagestan, bordering Chechnya, is one of the poorest and most unstable regions of Russia. Rebels from the region, which lies immediately east of Chechnya, are known to have traveled to Syria to join Daesh.
In 2015, Daesh declared it had established a “franchise” in the North Caucasus.
It has claimed a number of attacks on police in Dagestan in the last couple of years that have involved guns and explosives, as local security forces battle a simmering extremist insurgency.
Sunday’s shooting comes exactly one month before the March 18 presidential election that Vladimir Putin is almost guaranteed to win.


Former Malaysian PM charged with money laundering, abuse of power

Updated 31 min 3 sec ago
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Former Malaysian PM charged with money laundering, abuse of power

  • The charges bring the total number against Najib to 32 as investigators ramp up a probe into how billions went missing from scandal-plagued 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
  • 1MDB is a state fund that Najib founded and chaired.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian prosecutors charged former Prime Minister Najib Razak with 21 counts of money laundering and four counts of abuse of power on Thursday over hundreds of millions of dollars received in his personal bank account.
The charges bring the total number against Najib to 32 as investigators ramp up a probe into how billions went missing from scandal-plagued 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) — a state fund that he founded and chaired.
Najib has denied all charges, which have piled up since he unexpectedly lost a general election in May to Mahathir Mohamad, who reopened the 1MDB investigation.
Prosecutors, describing the abuse of power charges, said Najib used his position as prime minister, finance minister and chairman of 1MDB to obtain funds totalling about 2.3 billion ringgit ($556.23 million) between 2011 and 2014.
The money-laundering charges describe how Najib received 2.1 billion ringgit from Tanore Finance Corp, which US authorities have said was used to siphon money from 1MDB.
“The charges made today will give me a chance to clear my name, that I am not a thief,” Najib told reporters.
He was released after the judge set bail of 3.5 million ringgit ($846,430), to be paid by Sept. 28.
Prosecutors said it was a matter of “national disgrace” for a head of state to be facing such charges.
“This is a case involving a man holding the highest elected office. And him, facing such serious charges, must face some consequences in the eyes of the court,” lead prosecutor Gopal Sri Ram said, arguing for a bail amount of 5 million ringgit.
Najib has faced corruption allegations since the Wall Street Journal reported in 2015 that $681 million was sent to a personal bank account of the then-prime minister in 2013. A year later, the US Department of Justice confirmed the transaction and said the funds originated from 1MDB.
Despite growing calls to step down, he clung to power by cracking down on dissent and the media. But Malaysians voted him out earlier this year and he has since come under close scrutiny.
In recent months, prosecutors brought a total of seven charges against Najib over 42 million ringgit that allegedly flowed from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit, into his bank account.
The Department of Justice has said a total of $4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB through a complex web of transactions and fraudulent shell companies. Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho is described as a central figure in the scandal.