18 people, including 15 police officers and an Orthodox priest, were killed on Sunday in a terrorist attack in Russia’s southern republic of Dagestan, its governor Sergei Melikov said, according to The Associated Press.

Authorities said the terrorists opened fire on a church, two synagogues and a police post in two cities in the region.

Dagestan's Interior Ministry said a group of armed men shot at a synagogue and a church in the city of Derbent, located on the Caspian Sea. Both the church and the synagogue caught fire, according to state media.

Almost simultaneously, reports appeared about an attack on a church and a traffic police post in the Dagestan capital, Makhachkala.

The authorities announced a counter-terrorist operation in the region. The Anti-Terrorist Committee said five terrorists were eliminated.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry stated that so far, there are no known Jews or Israelis among the victims.

The Israeli Embassy in Moscow is in contact with the leaders of the Jewish community in the district.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. The authorities launched a criminal probe on the charge of a terrorist act.

Following the attacks, Amb. Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, said in a statement, “We are deeply troubled by what appears to be a coordinated attack on two synagogues, one of which has been burned to the ground, and a deadly attack on a church. An attack on the rights of individuals to practice their faiths freely and openly is an attack on humanity. As we await more information on the motivations of the attackers, we are reminded of the danger posed by antisemitism and all religious-based violence.”

“Every public leader, including in international organizations, has an obligation to not only condemn antisemitism without equivocation but act urgently to keep communities safe. We join the world in praying for the people of Derbent and Makhachkala, including law enforcement and clergy, and hope that the perpetrators are quickly brought to justice,” he added.