Blast kills Muslim cleric in Russia's Dagestan

March 23, 2012 11:40


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MOSCOW - An explosion killed a Muslim cleric and his police bodyguard in the southern Russian region of Dagestan early on Friday, Russian news agencies said.

Police had assigned an officer to protect the imam, Gitinamohhamed Abdul Gapurov, after he received anonymous threats. Both men were killed in the blast in the town of Buinaksk, Interfax quoted police investigators as saying.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion at an intersection as they walked through the town.

Dagestan, which faces almost daily shootings and bomb attacks, has been caught up in an Islamist insurgency across the mainly Muslim North Caucasus following two separatist wars in Chechnya.

The rebels want to create an Islamic state in the region, which is close Sochi, where Russia will host the winter Olympics in 2014.

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