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Russia: Car Bomb Kills Four, Including Top Regional Official

Makhachkala, Russia; 20 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- A car bomb killed the regional finance minister and three other people today in Makhachkala, the Dagestan capital, says the deputy interior minister in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan.

Dagestan, on the Caspian Sea, borders the breakaway republic of Chechnya, where Russian troops are at war with separatists.

Interfax news agency quotes the minister, Valery Beyev, as saying also that the explosion wounded eight other people. He said the bomb went off when Finance Minister Hamid Hamidov walked past a car parked near the ministry building

Eyewitnesses said the force of the blast threw the car into the air and sprayed the area with shrapnel. It shattered all the windows in the ministry building and cracked the walls.

Russia's Federal Security Service is investigating.

Itar-Tass news agency said another explosion today rocked the house of the leader of the Union of Moslems of Russia, Nadir Khachilayev. No one was injured in the blast. Khachilayev was in Moscow at the time.

Khachilayev told Itar-Tass he believed the incident was connected to his organization's bid to bring a peaceful settlement to the Chechen conflict.

"It was a cheap and mean maneuver. Somebody wants to intimidate me, but nothing will come of their efforts," he said.

The Union of Moslems will by no means revise its position on achieving peace in Chechnya, he said.