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July 26, 2013 12:08 pm

Dagestan, Russia, President Says Chabad Rabbi Shot by ‘One of the Most Extreme Islamic Terrorist Groups in the Chechnya-Caucasus Area’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Rabbi Ovadia Isakov, Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and chief rabbi of Derbent in the Republic of Dagestan. Photo: FJC.ru / Chabad.org.

Rabbi Ovadia Isakov, Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and chief rabbi of Derbent in the Republic of Dagestan. Photo: FJC.ru / Chabad.org.

The President of Dagestan, Russia, Magomesdsalam Megomdov, told Chabad Military Chaplain Rabbi Ahron Gurevitch on Friday that yesterday’s shooting of Chabad Rabbi Ovadia Isakkov was “performed by a member of one of the most extreme Islamic terrorist groups in the Chechnya-Caucasus area,” JFC, Chabad’s Russian arm, reported online.

Chabad said that President Megomdov “promised to do everything possible to capture the terrorist and ensure the continuation of Jewish life in the district.”

After the shooting, Rabbi Isakkov was flown to Israel in a private plane sponsored by Lev Leviev, the billionaire diamond mogul, investor and president of the JFC. The rabbi is now in “stable, but critical” condition in the Beilinson hospital in Petach Tikva, Israel.

Late yesterday, Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar said in statement to Russia’s Interfax news agency: “There is not and can be no compromise with terrorists: the state is not only entitled to but also obliged to use all means available against them.”

He said the attack was “far from being the first” incident of this kind, in which terrorists choose religious figures as targets, adding that “several well-known muftis in the Caucasus, who professed moderate Islam and who called for inter-ethnic and inter-religious peace, have died at the hands of such thugs.”

Extremists “have put themselves not only outside of any religion but also apart from humankind; their only goal is to kill innocent people, chiefly those who promote eternal values, morals and spirituality, in this world,” he said.

Rabbi Lazar urged law enforcement agencies not only to find and punish those who planned and committed this attack but also to “take all legitimate actions to eliminate the jihadist underworld.”

“The attack on the rabbi, as well as the previous attacks on Muslim figures, have pursued the goal of destabilizing all of society and undermining the noble pillars upon which our country’s unity has been built for centuries,” he said.

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