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Ingushetia President Regains Consciousness, Improving

Yunus-Bek Yevkurov

Yunus-Bek Yevkurov

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The head of Russia's Muslim region of Ingushetia has regained consciousness and his health is improving after an assassination attempt last week left him gravely wounded, a spokesman has said.

A bomber detonated explosives as Kremlin appointee Yunus-Bek Yevkurov's convoy drove by on his way to work on June 22, killing two of his entourage and shaking Moscow's grip of the restive North Caucasus region.

"The president is conscious. He is actively improving and according to doctors within a month a significant improvement is expected," said Adam Gazdiyev, a spokesman for Ingushetia's representative office in Moscow.

Gazdiyev said he did not have any other details and was not aware when Yevkurov regained consciousness.

The Chechen rebel group behind the 2004 Beslan school massacre has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing in a statement posted on the website, which has ties to the Chechen separatist movement.

Ingushetia has taken over from its neighbor Chechnya as the main center of violence along Russia's turbulent southern flank, challenging the Kremlin's rule and, security forces say, providing a foothold for global networks of Islamist militants.