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Ingushetia Official Injured in Bomb Attack

25 August 2005

A top official in southern Russian region of Ingushetia was wounded in an apparent assassination attempt when two blasts struck his motorcade in the region's main city of Nazran. The incident comes just a week before the first anniversary of Russia's worst-ever terror attack.

The prime minister of Ingushetia was wounded and his driver was killed when two bombs exploded as his motorcade was passing nearby in what appears to be an assassination attempt.

Officials say Prime Minister Ibragim Malsagov was hospitalized but that his life is not in danger.

At least two other people were wounded.

Regional prosecutor Nikolai Shepel says explosives were placed under a bucket near a garbage bin, as well as under a pile of leaves and that the incident is under investigation.

Nazran is the largest city in the southern republic located next to Chechnya, where Russian troops have been fighting separatist rebels for over a decade.

Bombings in Ingushetia and other parts of southern Russia have become increasingly common in recent years and are often related to the Chechen war. Police blame other violence on criminal gangs or native militants, many of whom have links to Chechen separatists.

Most top officials in the Caucasus region are appointed either directly or indirectly by the Kremlin.

Bombings and shootings are also commonplace in Dagestan, the republic that borders Chechnya to the east on the Caspian Sea.

Thursday's incident comes one week before the first anniversary of the bloody siege at a school in the town of Beslan, in neighboring North Ossetia, in which more than 300 people died, most of them children.

Security officials have stepped up security at all schools around Russia prior to the first day of classes on September 1.

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