Dead in Church Shooting in Dagestan, Russia

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At least four women were killed and five others were injured in a shooting attack during a celebration of Russia's traditional holiday Maslenitsa in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, regional Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

"People were leaving a church after an evening service when he opened gunfire at them", Shuvalov told TASS.

The attack took place in Kizlyar, a town of about 50,000 people on the Terek River delta on the border with Chechnya, Tass said. The region has also seen a large number of people join Islamic State terror group, according to Reuters.

The Russian RBK daily quoted an Orthodox priest saying the attacker had opened fire on churchgoers following an afternoon service.

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Dagestan is a predominantly Muslim region between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea close to Georgia.

Following two separatist wars in neighbouring Chechnya, an Islamist insurgency spread to Dagestan. 'He was carrying a rifle and a knife'.

Sunday's shooting comes exactly one month before the March 18 presidential election that Vladimir Putin is nearly guaranteed to win.

The assailant was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee. A woman died at a nearby hospital after she was rushed there, according to the Dagestani Health Ministry.

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