Female suicide bomber identified in Russia
MAKHACHKALA, Russia -- Russian police on Wednesday identified the female suicide bomber who killed an influential Muslim leader in a terrorist attack that could worsen a longstanding confrontation between radical Islamists and moderate Muslims in the volatile Caucasus region.
Said Afandi, 74, the powerful leader of a Sufi Muslim brotherhood in Russia's unstable province of Dagestan, was killed Tuesday along with six other people, including an 11-year-old boy, in the central village of Chirkei by the bomber, who approached his house disguised as a pilgrim. Afandi's tens of thousands of followers included influential officials, clerics and businessmen.
Police in Dagestan said Wednesday that the bomber was Aminat Kurbanova, a 30-year-old resident of Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala. The Interfax news agency claimed she was an ethnic Russian woman who had converted to Islam after marrying an Islamist militant.
Afandi's killing follows a string of attacks on moderate Muslim leaders in the Caucasus who have publicly denounced the spread of radical Islamic groups known as Salafis whose followers advocate an independent state, or emirate, that would include Caucasus and parts of southern Russia that contain a significant Muslim population. (...)