MOSCOW -- Two pro-Kremlin officials were shot to death minutes apart yesterday in Ingushetia, a republic bordering Chechnya in Russia's volatile North Caucasus that has been destabilized by the region's separatist and Islamic insurgency.
The assassinations appeared to be another round of carefully timed attacks against the government. First, an administrator responsible for helping Russian families resettle in the region was gunned down, and then a senior police commander was killed as he drove his three young children to school.
The children were also killed, as were the commander's two guards, bringing the death toll in the shootings to seven.
An underground Islamic force, aligned with Chechen separatists, has said it is carrying out what it calls "responsive measures" against officials involved in government counterterrorism activities.
New York Times News Service