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Samurai Sword Used to Slay Poet

An Islamist militant has hacked a North Ossetian poet to death with a samurai sword, which was found in the suspect's home after police killed him for resisting arrest, investigators said Thursday.

The sword attack was revenge for a 2008 poem by Shamil Dzhikayev denouncing Muslim pilgrims on Hajj who purportedly urinated on a memorial to children slain during the Beslan school siege in 2004, Chechnyatoday.com reported.

The suspect, David Murashev, 34, was cornered by police officers in North Ossetia's capital, Vladikavkaz, on Tuesday, the Investigative Committee said. He shouted that he had slain the 71-year-old Dzhikayev for offending his "sacred faith" and opened fire, injuring three officers before being shot dead.

North Ossetia is a predominantly Christian region, but Murashev was believed to have come under the influence of a visiting preacher of Wahhabi Islam, the news portal Yuga.ru said.

Searches at the homes of Murashev and unidentified associates found the samurai sword, firearms, extremist literature and a suicide bomber's belt, the Investigative Committee said on its web site. The sword and other evidence was featured on a video posted on the site.

Dzhikayev published his 12-line poem about the Beslan memorial desecration in the Ossetian language in a local magazine. It ends with the poet saying his dog will "urinate on the graves" of "young wolves going on Hajj."

The people suspected of urinating on the Beslan memorial, including Chechen and Ingush natives, were beaten by Beslan residents as they stood at the memorial in 2008. Chechen officials said later that the pilgrims had intended to pray, not urinate.

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