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Russian Courts Sentence 15 Over Anti-Israeli Airport Riot

Russian National Guard vans parked outside the airport in Makhachkala. AFP

Russian courts have sentenced 15 anti-Israeli rioters who stormed an airport in the North Caucaus republic of Dagestan to short terms in prison.

Hundreds of protesters overran Dagestan's Makhachkala International Airport on Sunday, charging onto the tarmac and jumping onto an airplane as they searched for Israelis rumored to have arrived on a flight from Tel Aviv. 

Courts in Dagestan, a Muslim-majority region, have since sentenced 15 people to between two and ten days in prison for their involvement in the riot, state media reported.

Two more were ordered to complete 60 hours of forced labor, the TASS news agency said.

Several police officers were injured in Sunday's riot at the airport and more than 80 people were initially detained.

Officials had pledged to severely punish those who took part in the riots. 

Dagestan's Governor Sergei Melikov called Sunday night's violence a "gross violation of the law" and a "stab in the back" of Dagestani soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials have claimed that Ukraine and the West were behind the calls to riot, while Kyiv said the violence was a symptom of Russia's "deep-rooted anti-semitism."

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