Gunmen kill at least 15 police officers in Russia's Dagestan

A Russian news agency says gunmen have killed at least 15 police officers in the southern republic of Dagestan.

Two Orthodox churches, a synagogue and a police post in Derbent and Makhachkala were simultaneously attacked on Sunday.

A Jewish organization says the attackers set fire to the synagogue in Derbent. Video footage shows smoke rising from the burning building.

The governor of Dagestan, Sergei Melikov, was quoted as saying that at least 15 police officers and a multiple number of civilians were killed in the attacks.

The official also said six assailants were killed, and the situation is under the control of local authorities.

Nobody has claimed responsibility. The Russian Investigative Committee has opened an investigation into what it believes were terrorist attacks.

A majority of Dagestan's population are Muslims.

Last October, protesters who oppose Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip stormed an airport in Dagestan when a passenger plane arrived from Israel.

Russian authorities have carried out counterterrorism operations in Dagestan and detained Islamic extremists following a terrorist attack at a concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow in March.