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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Troops Seal Off Towns Outside Grozny

GROZNY, Chechnya — Federal troops conducted so-called "mopping-up" operations in several regions of Chechnya on Thursday, searching for suspected rebels, while military helicopters pounded Chechen roads.

Soldiers sealed off the southwestern town of Urus-Martan and fanned out Thursday in Bachi-Yurt, 20 kilometers southeast of Grozny, and in Chernorechye on Grozny’s outskirts.

The pro-Moscow mayor of Grozny, Supyan Mokhchayev, said more than 40 suspected rebels were detained in Chernorechye, where about 10,000 people are living, Itar-Tass reported.

Two rebels were killed when federal artillery shelled what the military claimed was a band of Chechen rebels on the border between Chechnya and Dagestan, the military said. The casualty figure was impossible to verify.

The group, said to number about 15, was spotted Wednesday by a reconnaissance patrol near Bachi-Yurt. Russian troops called in strikes by artillery and heavy rocket launchers.