The rabbi of a Chabad center in the southern Russian state of Dagestan was shot in the chest Thursday as he was leaving his car.
He was hospitalized in critical condition and is fighting for his life, the Lubavitch movement’s Col website reported.
An unknown assailant opened fire on Rabbi Ovadia Eisekoff, an emissary in the city of Derbent, and then fled from the scene.
Police suspect that Eisekoff was targeted because he is Jewish. A manhunt is underway to apprehend the shooter.
Russian authorities have contacted Eisekoff’s wife and four children and briefed them on the details of the investigation.
One bullet entered his right lung and his liver, according to the report. Isakov cried out for help after he was hit and was evacuated to a hospital at about 1 A.M.
RIA Novosti, the Russian news agency, reported that he has been put on an artificial respirator and is in intensive care.
Police said they are considering “religious motivations” but are exploring all leads.
But Ramazan Abdulatipov, the acting president of Dagestan, released a statement blaming “extremists and terrorists [who] do not want a happy, normal life for us all” for the attack. “Only ignorant people, enemies of Dagestan, are able to do this. Dagestan is outraged,” he write in an official statement.
Berel Lazar, a Russian chief rabbi, has chartered a plane to transport Isakov to Israel as soon as his condition becomes stable enough to permit travel, according to Israel Radio.
For more go to Haaretz
Chabad Rabbi Clings to Life After Shooting in Russia's Dagestan Province