Five women dead after Russian church shooting

BREAKING: Gunman opens fire on festival crowd with at least four dead

Interfax reports that five people have died as a result of the incident.

The attacker was "eliminated " by police fire, the statement added.

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Russian news outlet RBK Daily quoted an Orthodox priest as saying the attack took place immediately following the afternoon service. "A bearded man ran towards the church shouting "Allahu Akbar" and killed four people", said the man identified as Father Pavel.

Four women died at the scene after the shooter fired a hunting rifle into the crowd and a fifth woman died after being transported to a hospital for surgery Dagestan's health ministry said, according to RT. "Two police officers and a woman were wounded", said Mayor Shuvalov.

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"The Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church considers this awful crime, committed on the eve of the Great Lent, a provocation aimed at instigating confrontation between Orthodoxs and Muslims, who have been coexisting peacefully for ages in the Caucasus", said his spokesman. "I believe God saved us, not allowing the man to get inside the church", a witness told RT. "He is a local resident of 22 years of age".

No immediate motive for the shooting was revealed. ISIS has claimed credit for the attack.

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Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, has a large Muslim population.

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