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Secret Service told grenade landed near Bush

U.S. officials investigating alleged incident in Georgia

From Elaine Quijano
CNN Washington Bureau

George W. Bush
Mikhail Saakashvili

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. officials are investigating a report that an apparent hand grenade landed about 100 feet from where President Bush was speaking Tuesday in Tblisi, the capital of Georgia, a Secret Service spokesman said.

The Secret Service has not yet confirmed whether the object was a real grenade and if so, whether the pin had been pulled, said spokesman Jim Mackin.

"We have not seen the reported device," he said.

No explosion was reported.

Mackin said Georgian officials alerted their U.S. counterparts about the incident several hours after Bush departed the former Soviet republic, where he received an enthusiastic welcome in a public square in the capital.

According to the account by Georgian security officials, the grenade hit an individual and fell to the ground, Mackin said.

At that point, security officers recognized the device and removed it, he said. No further details were available.

The FBI and State Department are also investigating the incident, Mackin said.

In his speech, Bush told a crowd of tens of thousands that Georgia is proving to the world that determined people can rise up and claim their freedom from oppressive rulers.

Bush's speech was the last event of his five-day, four-nation tour marking the end of World War II in Europe.

"Your most important contribution is your example," Bush said, speaking in Freedom Square, site of protests in November 2003 of the so-called Rose Revolution that put President Mikhail Saakashvili in power.

"Before there was a Purple Revolution in Iraq or an Orange Revolution in Ukraine or a Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, there was a Rose Revolution in Georgia," Bush said.

"You gathered here armed with nothing but roses and the power of your convictions and you claimed your liberty," he said.

"Because you acted, Georgia is today both sovereign and free and a beacon of liberty for this region and the world."

The president also noted that maintaining democracy was hard work. "The path is not easy," Bush said, pledging that Georgians "will not travel it alone."

"The American people will stand with you," he said.

Georgia is widely viewed as helping lead the way for other former Soviet republics to turn away from Moscow and focus more of their efforts on building alliances with the West.

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