Georgian officials yesterday confirmed that a grenade had been found near the stage where President George Bush spoke in Tbilisi on Tuesday, but said it was inactive.
&to=http:// english.pravda.ru/cis/2002/10/17/38315.html ' target=_blank>Gela Bezhuashvili, secretary of Georgia's national security council, said a Soviet-era grenade was found 30 metres from where Mr Bush addressed a crowd of 100,000 from behind bullet-proof glass.
He said it had not been thrown, as was initially reported, but was "found" by a Georgian security guard in "inactive mode".
The RGD-5 "engineering grenade" could be fatal at close range but was not designed to spread shrapnel, he added, suggesting that had it exploded it would have been unlikely to harm Mr Bush. Other experts said it was a "fragmentation" grenade with a lethal range of up to 25 metres.
A US secret service spokesman said the Americans had been told about the grenade once Mr Bush had left the country, publishes the Guardian Unlimited.
Bush was not aware of the grenade report until Secret Service agents told him about it aboard his jet as it was returning to &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/usa/2001/09/12/14900.html ' target=_blank>Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, press secretary Scott McClellan said, adding that the White House never believed the president's life was in danger.
A U.S. Secret Service spokesman, Jonathan Cherry, said Tuesday that his agency had been informed that a device, possibly a hand grenade, had been thrown near the stage during Bush's speech, hit someone in the crowd and fell to the ground.
Bezhuashvili described it as an "engineering grenade" -- one used for demolition or to simulate the effect of an artillery shell. The blast of such a grenade can be fatal at close range, but unlike offensive grenades, they are not designed to spread shrapnel.