A group of militants attacked the Church of Archangel Michael in central Grozny (Chechnya) on Saturday, May 19. According to local police officers, the four attackers were armed with petrol bombs, knives, and hatchets. All four attackers were killed, along with two police officers and one civilian. Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov announced after the attack that a special operation has been launched to clear out militants from Grozny.
No group has claimed responsibility for the assault as of Saturday. Chechnya is located within Russia's North Caucasus region, which also includes the restive Muslim-majority regions of Ingushetia, Dagestan, and Kabardino-Balkaria. Islamist militants and criminal groups in the region have been known to target Russian military personnel, local officials, and moderate Muslims. Chechnya, in particular, has been the site of a decades-long conflict between Moscow and separatist and religious radical groups; a large number of people from Chechnya have reportedly joined Islamic State (IS).
Individuals in Grozny are advised to remain vigilant, obey all instructions issued by the local authorities, and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities. As a reminder, some Western governments advise against nonessential travel to parts of the North Caucasus region.