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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rebels Ambush Troops, Lay Mines, Set Bombs

NAZRAN, Ingushetia — Military aircraft and artillery on Tuesday battered suspected rebel positions along the borders of Chechnya, while militants launched attacks from forests and steep mountain slopes in the breakaway republic, officials said.

Rebels attacked federal positions 18 times over the past 24 hours, targeting eight federal checkpoints in Grozny, said an official in the pro-Moscow civilian administration in Chechnya. Four federal soldiers were killed and seven were wounded in the attacks, which included an ambush on a convoy near Zhani-Vedeno, in the southern Vedeno Gorge.

Rebels continued laying mines in nominally federally controlled areas of Chechnya. An armored personnel carrier carrying Interior Ministry troops ran over a land mine in Grozny on Monday, the official said on condition of anonymity. There was no information on casualties.

Sappers successfully disabled a homemade, remote-controlled explosive that had been set near the Russian Orthodox Church of the Archangel Michael in Grozny, the official said. Bombs were also discovered along a road near the southwestern town of Urus-Martan and on a railway track leading from Gudermes to Argun, east of Grozny. Both were disposed of safely.

But one soldier was killed and two wounded near the town of Dzhalka, 15 kilometers east of Grozny, when a bomb went off while an army group was doing repairs on a railroad and rebels opened fire, Itar-Tass reported.

Federal forces turned their heavy artillery against suspected rebel groups in the Vedeno Gorge, the forests of Kurchaloi in the south, and the Nozhai-Yurt and Itum-Kale border regions in the east and south. Planes and helicopter gunships bombed the region.