Bush grenade scare: Man confesses
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TBILISI, Georgia (CNN) -- A man has confessed to throwing a live grenade near where U.S. President George W. Bush was speaking during the American leader's visit to Georgia in May, a government official says.
Vladimer Arutiniani, 27, was wounded then detained in former Soviet nation Georgia on Wednesday, following gunfire in which a policeman was killed, Interior Minister Ivane Merabishvili told reporters.
Arutiniani made the confession to doctors from his hospital bed, he said.
Merabishvili said police went to the man's apartment on Wednesday after receiving a tip that he might have information regarding the throwing of the grenade. The gunfight began when the man opened fire, he said. (Full story)
Georgian officials have said that the grenade was made in Armenia. The suspect is a citizen of Georgia and an ethnic Armenian, according to government officials.
Georgia, in the Caucasus Mountain region, is bordered by Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and the Black Sea.
No-one was hurt in the incident, which happened in Tbilisi's Freedom Square in May. Tbilisi is Georgia's capital.
Although the grenade did not explode, it could have, according to Georgian officials and an FBI agent. (Full story)
Asked about Wednesday's developments, Secret Service spokesman Tom Mazur said, "We were not involved" in the incident but "we continue to monitor the Georgian investigation."
In the hours after the incident, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry had described the device as an inert, Soviet-era training grenade that posed no threat to President Bush or his audience.
The grenade was tossed within 100 feet (30 meters) of the podium where Bush, Georgia President Mikhail Saakashvili and other officials were protected by bulletproof glass.
Tens of thousands of people had crowded into Tbilisi's main plaza to hear President Bush speak on May 10.
A statement on the U.S. Embassy Web site called the grenade a "live device that simply failed to function." There was no disturbance in the crowd.
The grenade was wrapped in a "dark tartan-colored cloth," the statement said.
"We consider this act to be a threat against the health and welfare of both the president of the United States and the president of Georgia as well as the multitude of Georgian people that had turned out at the event," the statement added.
A reward of 20,000 laris ($10,978) was offered in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible, the embassy statement said.
CNN's Nastya Anashkina and Helen Gotsadze for CNN contributed to this report.
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