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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gunman Fires on Mosque

A gunman fired a shot that hit a mosque in Irkutsk during a prayer service early Thursday, police and mosque officials said. None of the 10 people inside was injured, authorities said.

A single bullet shattered a glass plate in the mosque's door, ricocheted off a wall and hit another door, said Vladimir Zarubin, a police official in the eastern Siberian city.

Zarubin said it was unclear who fired the shot and whether the mosque was the intended target, but TVS television quoted police as saying it was a "planned act" and that the shot was aimed at the mosque, the largest in Irkutsk.

The incident came amid mounting concerns about racist violence and religious intolerance across the country.

On Wednesday, vandals smashed gravestones in a Muslim section of a cemetery in the southern city of Volgograd, scrawling swastikas and the word "skinheads" on graves, news reports said.

Muslims form a large minority in predominantly Orthodox Christian Russia. There are about 30,000 Muslims in Irkutsk, a city of more than 600,000 people.

Zarubin said the bullet may have been fired from an apartment building across the street from the mosque, an old gray stone building.

"They were saying prayers when the shot was fired. I thought a light bulb had broken, but I went to look and there was hole in the door. Everyone ran outside but there was nobody there," the mosque's elderly watchman, Gazimyan Yusupov, said on TVS.