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Arrests Made in Chechen Attack

July 25, 1998

MOSCOW (AP) _ Chechen authorities arrested four suspects in an assassination attempt earlier this week on the president of the restive republic, Russia’s ORT television station reported Friday.

The suspects were being questioned about a car bomb that exploded Thursday while President Aslan Maskhadov was traveling through the streets of Grozny, the ITAR-Tass news agency said.

Maskhadov escaped with bruises, but two of his bodyguards were killed.

Chechen officials have blamed either Russian security services or Chechen warlords for the bombing. But Maskhadov denied Friday that he personally accused Russia of involvement.

At a news conference shortly after the bombing, Maskhadov blamed unspecified foreign ``special services″ for the attack. Other Chechen officials, including Maskhadov’s deputy, Vakha Arsanov, blamed Moscow.

Chechnya remains unstable despite the end of the 1994-96 war with Russia, and tensions have been rising in recent weeks as Maskhadov cracked down on armed Islamic fundamentalists.

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