“We came for the Jews—to kill them with a knife and shoot them,” a rioter said.
A flight from Tel Aviv to Russia’s Dagestan Republic, in the North Caucasus along the Caspian Sea, was forced to redirect on Sunday after pro-Hamas rioters stormed Makhachkala Uytash Airport, seeking to lynch Jewish travelers.
Hundreds of rioters overran the airport, located in the capital of the Muslim-majority region of Russia. Video footage showed rioters with Palestinian flags shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is great) as they searched the terminals for Israeli passengers.
Other videos showed Muslim protesters stopping vehicles in the area to ask motorists if they were transporting tourists from the Jewish state.
“We came for the Jews—to kill them with a knife and shoot them,” a rioter was quoted as saying.
The plane from Tel Aviv was redirected to a nearby airport, but a mob also started gathering there, according to Israel’s Channel 12. The flight crew subsequently ordered the doors of the aircraft to be locked, as Russian security forces declared the tarmac a closed area.
“A limited number of Israelis and Jews are currently isolated and under guard at the airport,” Israel’s Kan public broadcaster quoted a security source in Jerusalem as saying.
“We are working on having them depart on a connection flight to Moscow once conditions allow it,” added the official.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry said they were following events in Dagestan and “expect Russian law enforcement to maintain the safety of all Israeli citizens and Jews and to act with determination against rioters and wild incitement against Jews and Israelis.
“Israel takes a grave view of attempts to harm Israeli citizens and Jews anywhere,” added the joint statement.
Russia’s state-run RT outlet reported the incident came only a day after Muslims stormed a hotel in the Dagestani city of Khasavyurt in an attempt to harm “Jewish refugees” rumored to be staying there.
Israeli Ambassador to Russia Alexander Ben Zvi was working to ensure the safety of Israeli tourists.
The Conference of European Rabbis, which represents about 1,000 Orthodox European rabbis, on Sunday night called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to protect Jews amid an eruption of antisemitic violence in the country.
“Earlier today, Dagestan’s Nalchik Jewish center was set on fire. Note that this is after a Hamas delegation (led by Musa Abu Marzouk) visited Moscow,” said Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, who served as chief rabbi of Moscow for 30 years.
“We hope that he [Putin] will give unequivocal instruction to local authorities not to allow pogroms against the Jews,” added Goldschmidt.