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Car bomb found near Chechen headquarters
( 2003-07-22 15:26) (Agencies)

Russian security agents discovered a car wired with explosives near the headquarters of the Kremlin-backed Chechen administration, less than two weeks after the building was reopened following a truck-bombing, a Russian official said Monday.

The discovery in the Chechen capital Grozny on Sunday underlined the violence and disorder that afflict the city despite a massive Russian military presence.

Elsewhere in the war-ravaged region, six Russian soldiers and six rebels died in a shootout in the mountain hamlet of Dyshne-Vedeno that began when rebels attacked a military patrol, said Col. Ilya Shabalkin, a spokesman for the military in Chechnya.

He told Russian news media that Federal Security Service agents had found an automobile containing a bomb about 220 feet outside the perimeter of the administration complex.

The Chechen administration complex was heavily damaged in December when suicide attackers drove two truck bombs through security cordons and detonated them, killing 72 people.

Meanwhile, Salambek Maigov, an envoy of Chechen rebel President Aslan Maskhadov, said he discussed prospects for peace in Chechnya with US officials and legislators during a five-day trip to Washington last week.

Maskhadov appointed Maigov this year to kick-start negotiations with Russian officials. However, the Kremlin has rejected the idea of talks with Maskhadov, calling him a terrorist.

The Kremlin has called an Oct. 5 election for the Chechen presidency - with Maskhadov excluded from the ballot - which it hopes will serve as a political solution and help end the daily attacks on Russian forces.

Russian forces pulled out of Chechnya in 1996 after insurgents fought them to a standstill in a 20-month war, leaving the republic de facto independent, but swept in again in 1999.

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