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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Two Blasts Devastate Government Building in Grozny

Aired December 27, 2002 - 08:32   ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Our breaking news story out of Chechnya. Our Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty joining us from Moscow with the latest on these explosion that, Jill, as we understand it, it appears to be the work of two suicide bombers?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, that appears to be the case at this point, Daryn.

There are a couple of different versions of how it happened, but essentially, what they believe is a suicide bomber in a truck pulled up to the fence, the gate around the government building in Grozny, and it exploded, a huge explosion. In fact, we are told a ton of explosives and it ripped a hole in the ground 30 feet wide and 12 feet deep, then there was a second explosion about 30 seconds after that and it was unclear whether there was another car that exploded or whether it might have been another bomb that was actually inside that building.

In any case, the latest figures we are getting, 32 people dead and 60 wounded. That's coming from the local interior ministry in Grozny which, of course, is the capital of Chechnya. Again, the suicide bomber, they believe.

Now, the local head of the administration down there said it is believed that that truck ladened with explosives got through three checkpoints and eventually made its way to the building. That's the building, Daryn, where all of the local administration who are pro- Moscow administration are located. And it was really a top priority, a top target for terrorists.

We will keep you informed, obviously. The explosion and the aftermath are still being investigated and we don't know the total number of people who were killed, but, obviously, a major, major setback to President Putin, who has been trying to prove that things are getting back to normal down there.

KAGAN: Absolutely. Jill Dougherty with the latest on that story. We will be checking back with you.

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