May 20, 2018 / 5:04 PM / 3 months ago

Islamic State claims responsibility for church attack in Chechnya

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for an attack on a church in Russia’s Chechnya republic that killed three people, the group’s Amaq news agency said on Sunday.

The group offered no evidence in support of the claim.

Four people attacked the Orthodox church on Saturday, killing two policemen and a churchgoer, Russia’s investigative committee said in a statement. The attackers were killed.

“Islamic State fighters executed an attack on ‘Michael’ Church yesterday in Chechnya’s capital, Grozny,” Amaq said.

Russia, which hosts the soccer World Cup next month, has fought two wars with separatists in the mainly Muslim internal republic since the 1991 Soviet collapse, but such attacks have become relatively rare in Chechnya.

The wider North Caucasus region remains volatile, however, with unemployment and corruption pushing some to embrace radical Islam.

Reporting by Polina Devitt in Moscow and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Writing by Polina Devitt; Editing by Dale Hudson

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