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Putin appointee escapes car bomb


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A suicide bomber drove a car packed with 100kg (220lb) of TNT into the car of the Ingushetian president, Murat Zyazikov, yesterday, injuring him slightly and heightening the fear that the anarchy in Chechnya is spilling over the border.

Mr Zyazikov, who was appointed by President Vladimir Putin, has implemented the Kremlin's hardline policies in the Russian Federation republic in an attempt to halt the growing influence of separatists and repatriate the thousands of Chechen refugees there.

His spokesman, Issa Mirzhoyev, said the incident occurred at about 10am, after the president's convoy had turned on to the main road from the city of Nazran to the capital, Magas. A Lada filled with explosives ran into the righthand side of the Mercedes in which the president was travelling.

Mr Zyazikov, who was treated at home for slight injuries, told the Interfax news agency: "It is difficult to imagine what would have happened if [my] car had not been armour plated."

· The commander of Russian forces in the southern Caucasus region survived an assassination attempt in Georgia yesterday. Major-General Alexander Studenikin suffered minor injuries after a bomb explosion hit his car as he was travelling home in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

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