4 dead, 4 wounded after gunman opens fire at Russian festival

Becca Schofield

A man in Russia's southern province of Dagestan shot into a crowd leaving a church on Sunday, killing five people and injuring at least five others, Russian news agencies reported, citing the local health ministry.

A shooting at a church in Russian Federation has left at least five people dead on Sunday, according to reports.

The attacker was killed, and two police officers were among the wounded, the news agency reports.

"The killed shooter was identified as Khalil Khalilov, 22, a resident of Rassvet village of Dagestan's Tarumovsky District", the statement, published on the town administration's website, read. One woman later died at a hospital, a law enforcement source told RIA Novosti.

The dead and injured had been at a service to mark Maslenitsa, a traditional pre-Lent festival.

"I believe God saved us, not allowing the man to get inside the church".

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.

A group that calls itself the local wing of the Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility.

The gunman targeted worshippers at a Russian Orthodox church in the mainly Muslim region, although no motive has been established yet.

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