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Blast kills two checnya

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Blast Kills Two, Injures 15 Near Chechnya
Powerful Explosion Damages Russian Security Service Building Near Chechnya, Killing Two

The Associated Press

MAGAS, Russia Sept. 15
A truck filled with explosives blew up Monday outside a government security building in a southern Russian region bordering Chechnya, killing at least two people and wounding at least 15, a doctor and news reports said.

The explosion shattered all the glass in the Ingushetia regional headquarters of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, leaving the three-story building severely damaged but still standing. The ITAR-Tass news agency reported that there were as many as 100 people in the building at the time of the blast.

Overturned cars lay crumpled in a pile near the charred FSB building in Ingushetia's capital, Magas. An Associated Press reporter saw at least one dead body inside one of the cars.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the Federal Security Service had been leading the Russian campaign against Chechen rebels. It recently handed control over to the Interior Ministry a shift officials called a sign that situation in Chechnya was becoming more stable.

An Emergency Situations Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that at least two people were killed and 15 injured, four of them seriously. The ITAR-Tass news agency later reported that four were dead and as about 40 injured.

Dozens of police surrounded the building and the immediate area.

The injured were being transported to area hospitals. A doctor, who declined to give his name, said that at least 15 were injured.

Muslim Dudarov, who works in a nearby building, said that the force of the blast threw him out of his office and into the building's lobby. He said that numerous people were hit by flying glass.

Russia has been wracked in recent months by bombings, most of which the government has blamed on Chechens.

A series of suicide bombings and other attacks in and around Chechnya and in Moscow has killed more than 150 people in the past five months. On an Aug. 1, a truck packed with explosives rammed through the gates of a military hospital in North Ossetia, which borders Chechnya and Ingushetia, blowing up and killing 50 people.

The nation had been on high alert amid fears that rebels would try to stage an attack ahead of Chechnya's Oct. 5 presidential election, a vote that Russian President Vladimir Putin has said is a key step on the road to peace.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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