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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Forces Prepare for Chechen Attacks in Nearby Dagestan

NAZRAN, Ingushetia -- Rebels sprayed military positions with gunfire in Grozny, while federal forces prepared for potential Chechen attacks into the neighboring region of Dagestan, officials said Wednesday.

Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev was quoted as saying his forces were finding it hard to combat the harrying tactics used by Chechen rebels.

"The bandits have moved over to the tactics of using mine and bomb explosions, and it is very difficult to fight against such ways and methods," Itar-Tass quoted Sergeyev as saying in the central region of Tula.

"We are not sitting on our hands but are making changes to our form and method of action," he said after handing out medals to paratroopers.

Military officials said checkpoints and other troop positions were fired on nine times in Grozny in the previous 24 hours. The army reported no casualties.

The rebel Internet web site,, said the rebels had killed about a dozen federal troops in the Chechen capital overnight.

Troops on Tuesday disarmed 10 land mines, three of them on the road leading out of Grozny toward the head of the Argun gorge, where troops were shelling suspected hideouts and searching for rebels.

Meanwhile, troops from the federal police, security agencies and army conducted joint exercises in Dagestan on Wednesday to improve coordination between the different service branches in case rebels try to raid that region.

The military offensive in Chechnya was prompted in part by an invasion by Chechen-based rebels of villages in Dagestan in August 1999.

Moscow recently placed troops along the border between Chechnya and Dagestan on heightened alert in anticipation of rebel attacks.

Local officials and residents in the region say that Chechen rebels often slip cross the mountainous border and stay in camps in Dagestan's thick forests.