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Suicide Bomber Strikes Grozny, 5 Injured

GROZNY — A suicide bomber blew himself up in Grozny on Wednesday, wounding three police officers and two civilians, officials said.

The blast at about 6 p.m. shook the center of Grozny, a city gingerly trying to come back to life after being devastated in two wars between separatists and federal forces since 1994.

The blast took place near the Chechen capital's theater, where an area for a musical performance had been cordoned off by police. An Associated Press reporter heard a powerful explosion and saw one person who appeared gravely wounded and two others with minor injuries.

Alvi Karimov, a spokesman for Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, said the blast was caused by a suicide bomber, but did not have further details.

The regional office of the Emergency Situations Ministry said three officers of the OMON riot police division were injured, along with two civilians.

Major offensives in Chechnya died down in the early part of the decade, but scattered, small clashes and bombings continue to plague the region. A Chechen rebel leader claimed responsibility for the March metro suicide bombings in Moscow that killed 40 people.

Violence seen as inspired by the Chechen insurgency has also gripped the neighboring regions of Dagestan and Ingushetia.

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