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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Bombs Rip Through Government Building in Chechnya

Aired December 27, 2002 - 09:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Back on to our very serious news that we have been following out of Chechnya. The breaking news, as we have been reporting, a pair of explosions ripping through a government building in the Chechen capital of Grozny. It is believed to be the work of suicide bombers. Our Moscow bureau chief, Jill Dougherty, joins us live with the very latest -- Jill, hello once again.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Daryn, the rebels had been warning that things like this were going to happen. And now we have this major explosion. Actually, two of them at the government building in Grozny, which is the capital of Chechnya.

The picture now that is emerging is that it was a suicide bomber, at least one of them, who took a truck, pulled it up to the perimeter of that building and it exploded, a huge explosion. In fact, we are told a ton of explosives creating a gigantic hole in the ground, 30 feet wide, 12 feet deep, and then 30 seconds after that, another explosion. Unclear whether that was a car that exploded, or whether there might have been a bomb actually planted in or near that government building.

In any case, the latest figures that we have, 32 people dead and nearly 60 wounded. Those figures have been changing over the past hour. It, obviously, was a major, major blast.

The head of the Chechen administration in Chechnya said that that truck, laden with explosives got through three checkpoints, and that is of grave concern because, after all, attacks have been happening constantly, and to be able to get through checkpoints that are manned by interior ministry troops and others is a sad commentary on the security in that area -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Absolutely, Jill. Especially when we hear reports that they are talking about a ton of explosives. How do you sneak a ton of explosives past three different checkpoints is the big question today.

DOUGHERTY: And, remember, the same question was asked here in Moscow when they had the hostage crisis, how could armed men get through the streets of Moscow with explosives and bombs and everything else and take over a theater? So the question is raised again, but President Putin has been trying to drive home the point that this place is getting back to normal. Chechnya will return to normal, and then you can have elections and it will be back as a normal part of Russia. But this really undercuts that opinion -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Jill Dougherty with the latest from Moscow. Jill, thank you very much. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



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