Terrorist truck bomb kills at least 32 in Grozny

| 12/31/2002

At least 32 people were killed Dec. 27 when two suicide bombers drove trucks into the Chechen government compound in the regional capital of Grozny and detonated them, according to press reports.

Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Tsakayev said the bombs were contained in a truck and an off-road vehicle that broke into the government compound. Authorities still were trying to determine the number of casualties, which he characterized as "significant."

Meanwhile, U.S. federal authorities and legislators have warned recently of terrorists using trucks for deadly missions. Last week, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) wrote the Transportation Security Administration, worried that fuel-laden trucks carrying hazardous materials are a potential weapon the federal government needs to more closely regulate.

In a statement, Schumer said, "Today, if terrorists wanted to do something horrible to us, chances are they could take a truck with dangerous materials in it, drive it to a major landmark, ignite the cargo right there and cause unspeakable damage."

In the Chechen explosion, authorities said the larger truck exploded next to the building, while a smaller vehicle blew up in an adjacent parking lot used by government cars. The explosions had the force of one ton of TNT and left a 20-foot-wide crater, authorities said.