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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kadyrov Slightly Injured in Attack

NAZRAN, Ingushetia — Akhmad Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya's Kremlin-backed civil administration was slightly injured in an explosion that tore apart some cars in his motorcade, an administration official said Tuesday.

The explosion, the third attempt on Kadyrov's life in the last two months, took place Monday on a road between Gudermes, where the administration headquarters are located, and Grozny, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The powerful blast injured nine of Kadyrov's bodyguards and destroyed two of the vehicles traveling in the motorcade, the official said.

Kadyrov, formerly a top Moslem cleric in Chechnya, is regarded by separatist rebels and many Chechen civilians as being a traitor for working with Russia, which has fought for 16 months to regain control of the republic.

Five soldiers and three fighters of an allied Chechen militia were killed in attacks over the previous 24 hours, the civilian official said.

Three of the soldiers died and two others were wounded when their armored personnel carrier was blown up in Grozny, where rebel infiltration is substantial despite a huge military presence.

Two others died in an attack in the town of Kurchaloi.

Warplanes, meanwhile, launched heavy bombardments on four districts where the rebels appear to be strongest.

President Vladimir Putin last week signed a plan calling for troop reductions in the republic.

However, a top Russian general indicated that the plan might not be firm.

The reduction program "will be carried out depending on the actual situation, its development and the fulfillment of the task of the complete elimination of rebel formations and their leaders," General Valery Manilov of the General Staff was quoted as saying Tuesday by Interfax.