Russia attack: N Ossetia Muslim leader shot dead

North Ossetia map

A Muslim spiritual leader has been shot dead in the Russian Caucasus republic of North Ossetia.

Deputy mufti Ibragim Dudarov was hit by several bullets fired at his car as he was driving home late on Wednesday, near the regional capital Vladikavkaz.

There have been similar attacks on Muslim leaders this year in the Russian republics of Dagestan and Tatarstan.

The motive in Dudarov's case is not clear. The mufti said his deputy "was not in conflict with anyone".

He called the attack "a stab in the back", linking it to Dudarov's work in a local Muslim spiritual organisation. But he said Islamist militants - blamed for many attacks in nearby Dagestan and Chechnya - were not active in North Ossetia.

North Ossetia is a mainly Christian republic which was ravaged by fighting between Christian Ossetians and Muslim Ingush in the early 1990s.

Dudarov, 38, lived in the village of Chmi near Vladikavkaz with his wife and four children, the youngest being a girl born just a month ago, Russia's website reports.

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