Truck Bomb Shakes Chechen Capital

Investigators examine a crater caused by a powerful truck bomb that exploded near a government compound in the Chechen capital of Grozny, Friday, June 20, 2003. The explosion wounded at least 36 people, said Chechen emergency response officials. (AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev)
A truck bomb exploded near a government compound in the Chechen capital, Grozny, on Friday, killing at least one person, Chechen officials said.

The blast went off about 70 yards from a building housing the Chechen police department for fighting organized crime, said Akhmed Dzheirkhanov, the deputy chief of the Emergency Situations Ministry branch for Chechnya. He said a woman was killed.

Earlier, he said another blast occurred nearby, but it was unclear whether it had caused casualties.

TVS television showed footage of a man, cradling an injured arm, running for help on a street strewn with metal fragments reportedly from a large Kamaz truck. Police and troops came streaming into the street, moving quickly toward the smoke-covered scene of the blast.

The explosions came the day before the Chechen State Council, the republic's temporary legislature, was to have met for its first session in a Grozny building that was hastily built to replace the government headquarters destroyed in a December car bombing. That attack killed at least 70 people.

Earlier this month, a female bomber blew up a bus carrying workers from a Russian air base near Chechnya, killing herself and at least 14 people. Two other suicide bombings in a three-day period inside Chechnya last month killed at least 78 people.

The rebel attacks have undercut the Kremlin's efforts to portray the situation in the war-shattered region as stabilizing. The Russian parliament last month approved a partial amnesty in hopes of encouraging rebels to abandon their fight.

Rebels forced Russian troops out of Chechnya after a 1994-96 war, leaving the republic de facto independent. Russian troops rolled back in fall 1999 after rebels raided a neighboring Russian region and after a series of apartment explosions blamed on rebels.