The mayor of one of the biggest cities in Russia’s turbulent North Caucasus has died after being shot by gunmen in the street.
Vitaly Karayev is the most senior figure to be murdered for years in the area, where terrorists, some linked to militant Islam, have launched frequent raids.
Witnesses in North Ossetia’s capital Vladikavkaz say Karayev was shot outside his home. He is the latest victim of a violent combination of clan rivalry, poverty and Islamic groups trying to overthrow Moscow’s rule.
North Ossetia is a mainly Christian region caught up in spiralling violence spilling over from neighbouring Chechnya, and borders South Ossetia.
12 people were killed and many others were wounded 10 days ago when a suicide bomber attacked a minibus in a Vladikavkaz market.
President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia still faced a serious terrorist threat.