Atsayev, a Muslim cleric, killed by female suicide bomber in Dagestan


Police examine the car of a Russian Islamic leader in Tatarstan, following a car bomb in Kazan on July 19, 2012. The Mufti of Tatarstan, Ildus Faizov, was wounded in a car explosion in the region's main city of Kazan while his former deputy, Valiulla Yakupov, was shot dead in separate incidents that came only an hour apart.


Roman Kruchinin

A prominent Muslim cleric who opposed Islamic militants was killed with at least 5 people today by a female suicide bomber in Dagestan, Russia, according to the Associated Press.

Officials say Sheikh Said Afandi al-Chirkavi, also known as Atsayev, a 74-year-old Sufi Muslim who died in the attack, was the bomber's intended target, Reuters reports.

The interior ministry of Dagestan explained how the assassination happened:

An unnamed woman, disguised as a pilgrim, entered Said Atsayev's home and detonated a bomb she was carrying on her body. Russia's Investigative Committee said, "The woman's identity is now being established."

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today while in Mulsim are of Tatarstan, "We will not allow anyone to tear our country apart by exploiting ethnic and religious differences. Terrorists, bandits, whatever ideological slogans they use ... want to achieve only one thing: to sow hatred and fear."

He added, "They stop at nothing - they kill people of the same faith and religious leaders, bring evil and spill blood during religious holidays."

Reuters says Putin may have been unaware of the bombing in Dagestan when he was speaking. He was officially in Tatarstan to present a state friendship medal to Tatarstan's mufti chief, a victim of a car bombing in July.