Gunmen kill Russian tourists in Caucasus

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Masked gunmen have shot dead three tourists from Moscow in the North Caucasus province of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Assailants in a black car forced a minibus carrying five holidaymakers to a halt and demanded to see their documents, the Itar-Tass agency reported.

When the passengers asked to see identification, the assailants opened fire, killing two men and a woman and wounding the other two passengers.

The Kremlin is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency rooted in two post-Soviet wars against separatists in Chechnya.

The insurgents, who want an Islamic state in the mostly Muslim North Caucasus, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 36 people at Moscow's busiest airport last month.

The insurgency has spread from Chechnya in the past decade to other provinces in the North Caucacus, primarily Dagestan and Ingushetia but also Kabardino-Balkaria, whose wooded peaks attract skiers, mountaineers and other vacationers from Russia's heartland.

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