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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechen Rebels Attack Convoy, Kill 3

NAZRAN, Ingushetia -- Three soldiers were killed and 17 were wounded when Chechen rebels ambushed a Russian military convoy in Grozny in an unusual daytime attack, according to a report by Interfax.

The soldiers were traveling in a three-truck convoy in the Chechen capital when the rebels attacked, Interfax reported, citing deputy prosecutor Igor Kistayev. He said that they set off a mine under one of the trucks, then opened fire on the soldiers with automatic weapons and grenade-launchers.

The firefight lasted just a few minutes, NTV television reported. It was not known whether there were any rebel casualties, and officials in Moscow could not immediately confirm the Russian military toll.

Kistayev said another, similar rebel attack occurred in central Grozny on Monday afternoon, and Russians were wounded, Interfax reported.

Rebels have stepped up attacks against Russian positions in Chechnya in recent weeks, using explosive-filled trucks, remote-controlled mines, artillery and automatic weapons f but usually they limit their ambushes to darkness.

In an apparent Russian success on Sunday, the military said dozens of rebels had been killed in artillery strikes after they clashed with federal forces in the forests of eastern Chechnya. The fighting occurred Sunday near Dzhalka, 15 kilometers east of Grozny, said the military command in the North Caucasus town of Mozdok.

The command's press service said 42 rebels had been killed in the woods near Dzhalka and 18 in forests in the nearby Argun region after the Russian troops called in artillery fire.

The claim could not be independently confirmed, and the press service offered no information on Russian casualties. Both sides in the war routinely exaggerate the enemy's losses while playing down their own.