Gunmen with automatic weapons have killed over 20 persons in Russia's Dagestan three (3) months after the deadly attack in Moscow. According to report, the gunmen burst into an Orthodox church and a synagogue in the ancient city of Derbent on Sunday evening, setting fire to an icon at the church and killing a 66-year-old Orthodox priest, Nikolai Kotelnikov.

Likewise, in the city of Makhachkala, about 125 km (75 miles) north on the Caspian Sea shore, attackers shot at a traffic police post and attacked a church.

Gun battles erupted around the Assumption Cathedral in Makhachkala and heavy automatic gunfire rang out late into the night. Footage showed residents running for cover as plumes of smoke rose above the city.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. However, Russia's investigative committee said 15 policemen and four civilians were killed. According to Dagestan's healthcare ministry, 46 more people were wounded.

Russia's state media cited law enforcement as saying two sons of Magomed Omarov, the head of central Dagestan's Sergokala district, were among the attackers in Dagestan. They were killed and their father was detained.

The head of the Dagestan region, Sergei Melikov has declared June 24 to 26 national days of mourning in Dagestan. He added that flags would be lowered to half-mast and all entertainment events canceled.