May 23, 2:57 PM EDT

Rebel commander reported killed in east Ukraine car bombing

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian news agencies have reported the killing of a prominent separatist commander in eastern Ukraine when his vehicle was ripped apart by a bomb and then strafed by gunfire.

The reports, citing a prosecutor in the separatist Luhansk region, said Saturday's attack killed commander Alexei Mozgovoi and at least six other people. Prosecutor Sergei Gorenko said the identities of the others were not yet known.

The reports gave no suspected motive for the killing of Mozgovoi, but noted there had been previous attempts on his life.

Mozgovoi was a vocal critic of the Russian-backed separatist leadership. He was one of the Cossacks, members of a semi-military group, who took control of towns in Ukraine's separatist Luhansk region during the uprising against Ukrainian government troops that began a year ago.

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