MAKHACHKALA, Russia - The imam of a mosque in Russia's troubled North Caucasus province of Dagestan was shot dead by unidentified gunmen, police said on Friday.
The victim, Zainudin Daiziyev, was at least the third imam killed since June in Dagestan, where mainstream Muslim leaders are frequent targets of Islamist militants waging an insurgency along Russia's heavily Muslim southern fringe.
Unidentified gunmen entered Daiziyev's home in the village of Kadar late on Thursday and opened fire at him with automatic weapons, Dagestan's Interior Ministry said. Police found 57 spent shells at the scene.
Dagestan is plagued by violence linked to an insurgency stemming from Russia's devastating wars in neighboring Chechnya, where federal forces drove separatists from power a decade ago.