Chechen rebels step up attacks

Rebels fighting to oust Russian forces from Chechnya have attacked military positions 16 times in the past day, killing two soldiers and wounding nine.

    Russian soldiers face daily attacks in Chechnya

    A Chechen police patrol also came under rebel fire in Gudermes - Chechnya's second largest city, leaving one officer dead and another wounded

    In the capital Grozny, one police officer was killed and three injured when a military vehicle drove over a landmine.

    A pro-Moscow Chechen administration official who didn't want to be named claimed that four of the 16 attacks planned in the last 24 hours against government targets were in Grozny.

    Although the Kremlin insists that they have contained rebel activity in Chechnya, fighting is continuing on a daily basis.

    In the last 24 hours, federal forces pounded suspected rebels and rebel bases in the Vedeno and Nozhai-Yurt regions.

    Federal troops also rounded up 150 people in the much criticised daily sweeps, the Chechen official said.

    The ITAR-Tass news agency reported that a 27 year-old-rebel who is believed to be linked to human bomb attacks this summer was arrested by police.

    Detention

    Moscow's troops have been bogged
    down in Chechnya since 1999

    The suspect was detained on Friday in Ingushetia, which borders Chechnya. Media reports claim that the man was an expert in bomb-making.

    The man is suspected of involvement in the 5 June attack

    by a female suicide bomber near a bus carrying soldiers and civilians to a military airfield in Mozdok, a major staging point for

    Russian troops in Chechnya.

    The latest Chechen war began in 1999 when Moscow poured troops into the restive regions following a series of rebel incursions into the neighboring region of Dagestan and a series of apartment bombings blamed variously on the secret services and rebels. 

    An earlier 1994-96 war ended in failure for Russian forces, who withdrew and left Chechnya with de-facto independence.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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