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Muslim Leader Killed in Russia

August 21, 1998

MAKHACHKALA, Russia (AP) _ A local Muslim leader was killed in a car bombing Friday in Russia’s southern region of Dagestan, officials said.

Mufti Said-Mohammad Abubakarov, Dagestan’s Muslim leader, died along with his brother when their car was blown up by a radio-controlled bomb after prayers at the main mosque in Makhachkala, the regional capital. Their driver also was killed, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

No one has claimed responsibility and police have refused to comment on who may have been behind the attack. The Interfax news agency said authorities suspect involvement by the Wahhabis, a fundamentalist Islamic sect.

Abubakarov, long an enemy of the Wahhabis, once said in an interview that every Muslim who killed a Wahhabi would go to heaven.

Dagestan has been plagued by frequent bombings, kidnappings and other violence as numerous ethnic and religious groups have fought for power. There was no evidence the Wahhabis have taken part in any of the violence.

Update hourly