The main airport in the Russian republic of Dagestan was taken over by hundreds of protestors, resulting in the cancellation of all flights to and from that airport. On Sunday night, hundreds of protesters jumped security barriers and spilled onto the runway and airfield of Makhachkala airport. Videos posted on social media showed a large number of young males among the protesters, many of whom were carrying Palestinian flags. The protest apparently arose due to the arrival of a flight from Israel amid the conflict in Gaza.
The crowd breached airport security, with some individuals even making it onto the runway. Security forces eventually removed them. The Russian interior ministry reported that more than 150 active participants in the protest have been identified, and 60 of them were arrested. During the clashes, nine police officers sustained injuries, with two of them receiving medical treatment at a hospital.
Reports indicate that the airplane in question belonged to the Russian carrier Red Wings. Passengers on board were seen rushing to re-enter the plane amid the chaos on the airport runway.
Videos showed protesters breaking glass doors, running through the airport. Some were seen waving Palestinian flags and checking the passports of arriving passengers. Others waited outside the airport to block cars, and there were attempts to overturn a patrol truck. One protester held a sign that read, “Child killers have no place in Dagestan.”
This incident occurred as Israel continued its expanded ground operations in the Gaza Strip, alongside heavy aerial bombardment. In Gaza, officials reported more than 8,000 Palestinians killed, including 3,324 children, since the war began on October 7. At least 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals were killed in the Hamas attack, according to Israeli officials.
Following the incident, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement, expecting Russian law enforcement authorities to protect the safety of Israeli citizens and Jews, and to act decisively against the rioters and incitement against Jews and Israelis.
Investigation agencies requested a criminal investigation into the incident, and the Russian Aviation Authority ceased the airport until security inspections were completed and aircraft were rerouted.