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Anti-radical Islam reporter killed in south Russia

Gunmen in the Russian republic of Dagestan killed a television journalist who promoted an officially approved form of Islam, police said today.

Abulla Alishayev was the second journalist to die in three days in Russia's north Caucasus, a region scarred by fighting between federal forces and Muslim rebels.

Unknown assailants shot Alishayev - an editor at an Islamic television station who made a documentary countering the radical Wahabist form of Islam - as he drove through Dagestan's capital last night. He died today.

Analysts say predominantly Muslim Dagestan is fertile ground for radical Islam to attract disenfranchised young men, a trend they say could spread further through Russia's north Caucasus.

"Alishayev received wounds to the shoulder and head. He was operated on, but his life could not be saved," Dagestani police said.

Dagestan, with a population of about 2.5 million, lies between the Caspian Sea and Chechnya. It is one of the most heavily populated and poorest republics in Russia. Unemployment is widespread and power cute this winter paralysed the capital Makhachkala.

On Sunday the owner of an opposition Web site in the nearby republic Ingushetia died from gunshot wounds while in police custody. Police said Magomed Yevloyev was shot dead when he lunged for a gun. Human rights workers said they did not believe this story.