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Saint Lucia Breaks Records in Tourism Arrivals, highlights Tourism Minister

The island of Saint Lucia continues to break records in tourism arrivals and rivalling all the best records till date. Saint Lucia has witnessed a significant rise of 42% in arrival of visitors in the month of June, 2024.

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The court’s ruling comes after the festival’s organizers announced the cancellation of this year’s event, citing “possible risks… in the current circumstances.” The announcement was made on VKontakte, a Russian social media platform, where the organizers expressed their regret over the decision

Deadly Attacks on Religious Sites and Police in Dagestan: Nine Killed, Multiple Injured

WorldRussiaDeadly Attacks on Religious Sites and Police in Dagestan: Nine Killed, Multiple Injured

Makhachkala, Russia – In a series of coordinated attacks, unknown assailants targeted two Orthodox churches, a synagogue, and a police post in the predominantly Muslim republic of Dagestan, leaving nine dead and several injured.

The violence, reported on Sunday, has plunged the region into chaos and prompted a robust response from Russian security forces.

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The assaults began in Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala, and the coastal city of Derbent. Attackers armed with automatic rifles opened fire on a synagogue and an Orthodox church in Derbent at around 6:00 p.m. local time.

The assailants then fled the scene in a white Volkswagen Polo, according to local officials. Shortly after the attack, the synagogue caught fire, with videos circulating online showing flames engulfing the building.

Father Nikolai, a 66-year-old priest at the Orthodox church in Derbent, was brutally killed in a knife attack, reported Shamil Khadulaev, chairman of Dagestan’s Public Monitoring Commission. A security guard at the Orthodox church in Makhachkala was also killed.

In a separate incident, unknown attackers ambushed a traffic police post in Makhachkala, resulting in the death of one police officer and injuries to six others. The ensuing armed standoff led to the elimination of four gunmen by security forces, according to local officials.

The violence did not stop there. On the central square of the village of Sergokal, approximately 65 kilometers from Makhachkala, attackers fired on a police car, wounding at least one officer, as reported by RIA Novosti news agency.

Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee has imposed a counterterrorism regime in Dagestan. Security forces have cordoned off areas in Derbent where militants are believed to be entrenched and are preparing for a potential storming of the building, Interfax reported.

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Authorities have responded with heightened security measures, closing roads leading in and out of both Derbent and Makhachkala. Russia’s Investigative Committee has launched a criminal terrorism probe into the coordinated attacks, while the Federal Security Service (FSB) has intensified its efforts to track down those responsible.

In a significant development, Magomed Omarov, the head of Dagestan’s Sergokalinsky district, was detained. His sons are allegedly involved in the attacks, state news agencies reported.

The region has a history of militant activity, with militants from Dagestan known to have joined the Islamic State group in Syria. In April, the FSB arrested four people in Dagestan on suspicion of plotting an attack on Moscow’s Crocus City Hall concert venue in March, a plan claimed by the Islamic State.

Dagestan, lying to the east of Chechnya, has been a hotspot of conflict. Following the brutal wars in Chechnya from 1994-1996 and 1999-2000, Russian authorities have faced an ongoing insurgency from Islamist militants across the North Caucasus.

This simmering conflict has resulted in numerous casualties among civilians and police over the years.

The latest spate of attacks underscores the persistent threat of terrorism in Dagestan and the North Caucasus region. As Russian security forces intensify their operations to neutralize the threat, the region remains on high alert, bracing for potential further violence.

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