Shooting in church kills 5 in southern Russian Federation

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Five people have been shot dead after a gunman opened fire on worshippers leaving a church in southern Russian Federation. "Two police officers and a woman were wounded", he said.

"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.

The victims were leaving the church following a service when the gunman opened fire with a hunting rifle.

Amaq, the propaganda agency for Islamic State, claimed that the group was behind the attack, although it did not offer any evidence.

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"The incident took place in Kizlyar".

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

Other reports said the shooter was accompanied by a woman, who fled the scene. The local Interior Ministry, however, said the gunman had acted on his own, according to the Interfax news agency. "A bearded man ran toward the church shouting "Allahu Akbar" [God is great] and killed the people".

Dagestan is a predominantly Muslim region between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea.

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