Muslim cleric, two officers killed after gun attacks in southern Russia

Sunday, September 20, 2009

According to officials, a Muslim religious leader and two anti-terrorism officers were killed in the Ingushetia region of Russia on Sunday in two separate gun attacks.

Ingush Interior Ministry spokesman Madina Khadzhiyeva said that the officers were killed by gunfire while driving along a highway in the region at around noon on Sunday.

"At around 12.20 [local time], in the village of Gazi-Yurt, an automobile, containing officers of the Centre's antiextremism group, was shot at [...] Two officers were killed, and another wounded," ((ru))Russian language: ‍Около 12.20 в населенном пункте Гази-Юрт неизвестные на синей 99 (ВАЗ-21099) обстреляли легковой автомобиль, в котором находились сотрудники Центра по борьбе с экстремизмом. Двое погибли сотрудников, один ранен a spokesperson said.

The RIA news agency reports that searches are ongoing to apprehend the attackers.

Meanwhile, the Karachayevo-Cherkessiya Interior Ministry reported that Ismail Bostanov, a leading Muslim cleric, was was gunned down on the same day, in a separate attack.

The Ministry said it believes the attack was carried out by adherents of Wahhabism, a fundamentalist branch of Islam, a group whose influence Bostanov had attempted to reduce.