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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 April, 2004, 10:14 GMT 11:14 UK
Ingushetia leader survives attack
One of the cars in the presidential motorcade after the attack
Attackers want to turn Ingushetia into battleground, Zyazikov says
The pro-Kremlin president of a Russian region bordering Chechnya has survived an apparent assassination attempt.

Ingushetia's President, Murat Zyazikov, was slightly injured when a car packed with explosives rammed into his motorcade on Monday morning.

A presidential spokesman said it appeared to have been a suicide attack.

Correspondents say Mr Zyazikov, who served in the intelligence services in Chechnya and Ingushetia, is seen as a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Rebel reference

It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack which injured several bodyguards and damaged nearby buildings.

But Mr Zyazikov told Russian Itar-Tass news agency the blast was the work of "forces who wanted to turn Ingushetia into a battleground".

"The separatists and extremists, whose leaders are known, stand to gain above all from the destabilisation processes," he said, in an apparent reference to Chechen rebels.

Moscow says it has pacified Chechnya four years into its second campaign, but fighting continues in the rebellious republic.

Most of the attacks take place inside Chechnya, but Russian serviceman have also been targeted in Ingushetia.

Ingushetia hosts thousands of Chechen refugees who fled the conflict.

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