A government minister is hospitalized and a television journalist is dead after two separate attacks in Kabardino-Balkaria in Russia's North Caucasus.
Kabardino-Balkaria Deputy Transport Minister Vladislav Dyadchenko was reportedly injured in a bomb attack on December 6. His condition is unclear.
A Russian Interior Ministry statement said unidentified assailants placed a bomb on a fence near Dyadchenko's house in the republic's capital, Nalchik. The bomb reportedly exploded when Dyadchenko drove out of his yard.
The incident took place hours after unidentified gunmen killed a well-known television journalist in Nalchik.
Kazbek Gekkiyev worked for the Vesti-VGTRK television channel. His co-workers say he was on his way home from work on December 5 when he was shot dead.
The spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, told journalists in Moscow on December 6 that investigators believe they know why Gekkiev was killed.
"At this moment, we can say that the most probable motive was Gekkiyev's professional activity," Markin said. "This audacious crime can be viewed as a warning to other journalists who speak about the fight against underground militants in [Kabardino-Balkaria]."
Markin said that Gekkiyev's killers planned the attack thoroughly.
"Before killing Gekkiyev, the suspects made sure he was indeed a journalist, the host of a news program, which confirms the main suspected motive," he said, adding that three 9-millimeter rounds were fired at Gekkiyev.
Gekkiyev's colleagues say that "extremists" had earlier threatened to kill two other journalists working for the television channel. The station's management took the threatened employees off the air for their own safety.
Oleg Dobrodeyev, director-general of Russia's State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK), spoke on December 6 to Gekkiyev's relatives and colleagues in Nalchik as they mourned his loss.
"Today we all stand together with you. We are all one family: hundreds and thousands of journalists working in Russia," Dobrodeyev said. "In Moscow, we will do all we can to help you at this difficult, dramatic moment."
Islamic insurgents in the North Caucasus professing extreme forms of Islam regularly organize terrorist attacks against government officials, police, and moderate Muslims.
The region's most violence-plagued republics include Kabardino-Balkaria, Daghestan, Ingushetia, and Chechnya.
With reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax