Police Officer Detained in Mayor's Killing

A police officer has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the assassination of Vladikavkaz's mayor, investigators said Wednesday.

Vladikavkaz Mayor Vitaly Karayev was struck in the heart by a single bullet on Nov. 26 in an apparent sniper attack near his home in the North Ossetian capital, and he died in the hospital. Islamist militants in the volatile North Caucasus subsequently claimed responsibility for the slaying.

The Investigative Committee said Wednesday that two men, including an Interior Ministry officer, had been arrested in connection to the killing. Investigators are looking into the possibility that the suspects were involved in other high-profile crimes in the republic, it said in a statement.

The rebel web site Kavkazcenter.com said a group called Kataib al-Khoul, also known as the Ossetian Jamaat, had claimed that one of its senior leaders shot and killed the mayor as he stepped into his Mercedes.

The web site said Karayev was killed because he had ordered a crackdown on women wearing traditional Muslim garb after a female suicide bomber killed 12 people on Nov. 6.