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Kyrgyzstan Blames Uzbek Islamic Movement For Attacks

Bishkek, 28 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's intelligence agency says the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a group that has been linked to the Al-Qaeda network, is believed to have been involved in two recent bombings in Kyrgyzstan. The two attacks were an explosion at a Bishkek market last December, which killed seven people and injured more than 50, and an explosion at a gas station in the southern Osh region in May that killed one person.

Kyrgyz National Security Service spokeswoman Chinara Asanova said today that both bombings had been ordered by leaders of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

She said the attacks had been organized and carried out by a group of three Uzbek citizens, one Chinese citizen, and four Kyrgyz citizens. At least five members of the group -- three Kyrgyz and two Uzbeks -- are reported in custody, including the group's leader, an Uzbek called Aziz Karimov.

The Kyrgyz spokeswoman said the group's initial targets were believed to have been the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek and a Turkish-owned hotel, but tight security at both facilities prevented any attack.