Assassination Attempt in Abkhazia

The prime minister of Georgia's separatist Abkhazia (search) region survived an assassination attempt by unknown assailants, his deputy said Tuesday.

Gunmen opened fire at Prime Minister Alexander Ankvab's (search) car late Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Leonid Lakerbaya said. He and Ankvab were riding in the same car, riding from the capital Sukhumi to their homes in the Gudauta resort, when they came under fire, Lakerbaya said.

Neither official nor their driver was hurt, and the assailants fled, Lakerbaya said.

He said he counted 11 bullet holes.

Abkhazia has run its own affairs since 1993, cultivating close ties with Russia. No government recognizes it as independent, but many of its residents have Russian citizenship, and Georgian authorities accuse Russia of supporting its separatist leadership.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili (search) has pledged to reunite his fractured country by bringing Abkhazia and another separatist region, South Ossetia, into the fold. The breakaway regions, however, have rejected offers of broad autonomy.