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Another Suicide Bombing Leaves 8 Dead in Chechnya - 2003-05-14

More than eight people are reported dead after another terrorist bombing in Russia's breakaway province of Chechnya. The bombing comes just days after a truck bomb killed close to 60 people in Chechnya on Monday.

Officials of the Russia-backed administration in Chechnya say the suicide bomber, a woman, detonated explosives strapped to her waist during a religious festival in the town of Iliskhan-Yurt, located in eastern Chechnya.

The officials believe the target of the blast was Akhmad Kadyrov, head of the pro-Russian administration in Chechnya, who was attending the festival.

Witnesses say the bomber tried to make her way up to the podium where Mr. Kadyrov and other officials were gathered. When guards stopped her, she detonated the explosives.

Mr. Kadyrov was apparently not injured, but at least four of his bodyguards were killed.

Wednesday's bombing comes as the death toll has risen to 58 from a suicide bombing earlier this week in Chechnya.

In that incident, a truck filled with explosives completely destroyed several government buildings in the village of Znamenskoye in the northern part of the province.

President Vladimir Putin has tried to link Monday's bombing with the blasts in Saudi Arabia on Monday, which have been blamed on the al-Qaida terrorist network.

The Russian leader has long maintained that the war in Chechnya is part of the international fight against terrorism, and there is evidence that some international groups may be present there.

But most international observers say the underlying problem is the issue of independence in the region. And many foreign governments have called on Mr. Putin to hold peace talks with rebel leaders, something he has declined to do.

Although the Kremlin maintains the war against separatist fighters in Chechnya is all but over, the rebels continue to mount almost daily attacks on Russian troops and local officials.