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Attack on Dagestan Rabbi Possibly Religiously Motivated

The attempt on the life of Rabbi Ovadya Isakov on Thursday morning in the Dagestani town of Derbent could be related to his religious activity, the Investigative Committee's regional office said.

The 40-year-old rabbi of a local synagogue was hospitalized with gunshot wounds to the chest after unknown assailants shot him several times outside his home in Derbent around 1 a.m.

Police consider Isakov's religious activity as one of the possible motives for the crime.

Isakov had to be hooked up to an artificial breathing apparatus Thursday morning, RIA Novosti reported. He plans to be transported to Israel for treatment.

Jewish leaders quickly commented on the attack. "The Russian Jewish community is shaken by this foul crime," Borukh Gorin, the head of the Federation of Jewish Communities' public relations department, said in a comment carried by Itar-Tass.

Russia's chief rabbi Berl Lazar appealed to the authorities in the wake of the attack to stop terrorists of the "Jihadi underground," Interfax reported.

Acting president of Dagestan Ramazan Abdulatipov said of the attacker, "there should be no place for him in Dagestani society."

Law enforcement authorities have opened a criminal case on charges of attempted murder and illegal possession of firearms, which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

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