On Sunday, members of a Russian Orthodox church were celebrating the start of Lent when a gunman opened fire on the congregation.
Fox News reports, “The shooting unfolded outside a church in Kizlyar, a town of about 50,000 people on the border with Chechnya. The Russian news agency TASS cited Svetlana Petrenko of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation as the source for the number of people killed and wounded.”
Five women were killed, and five others were injured. Some of them were national guardsman and police. Two out of the five are in critical condition, BBC explains.
Per RT , a Russian international news network, “The gunman opened fire with a hunting rifle at a group of people leaving a church ceremony dedicated to the end of the Russian folk festival of Maslenitsa, which marks the start of Lent for Russian Orthodox Christians.”
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on the Russian Orthodox church on Sunday.
Fox News reports, “Authorities have not yet disclosed what motivated the shooting, but the shooting took place in the region where Moscow has led two wars against separatists and radical religious groups since the 1991 Soviet collapse. The region has also seen a large number of people join ISIS, according to Reuters.”
The local Muslims, which belong to the predominant religion of the area were upset at the attack on the church, putting the blame on those part of the radical Sunni sect of Wahhabism. They also claimed those part of the sect has no connection to true Islam, BBC explains.
One eyewitness named Oksana saw the whole event unfold: from the congregation coming to the church to the security guards coming to the rescue.
“There were a lot of people there, moms with little children, elderly people. I believe God saved us, not allowing the man to get inside the church,” Oksana told RT.
The Pocket Testament League, which equips believers to show Christ’s love through distributing the Gospel of John, is working in the Russian Federation to equip believers to share Christ’s love.
Pray for ISIS attacks to be foiled.
Pray for those who are grieving to be comforted.
Pray for many to come to know the Lord somehow through the way Christians grieve with hope.