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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechen Rebels Kill 19 Russian Soldiers

VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia - Intensified attacks by Chechen independence fighters left 19 Russian soldiers dead, an official said Tuesday, in one of the bloodiest days recently in the rebel region.

Forty-nine soldiers were wounded in the fighting, which took place over the preceding 24 hours, said the official in the pro-Russian civilian administration.

Clashes included 25 hit-and-run attacks on Russian checkpoints and headquarters, in which 11 servicemen died, the spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Other fighting included an ambush Monday of a troop convoy near the town of Argun just east of the regional capital Grozny, which led to a 40-minute firefight in which three soldiers died.

A police convoy was fired on in Grozny itself on Monday, with three servicemen killed in that incident.

Tuesday afternoon, however, Grozny was quiet and vehicles were moving freely around the city.

Russian troops went into Chechnya in September, 1999, in an effort to restore control lost when rebels defeated Russian troops in a 1994-96 war. Though they have occupied most the region's territory, they have not been able to stamp out guerrilla attacks.

Soldiers are killed almost daily, though the figures announced Tuesday were roughly double the routine official casualty counts.

At least two rebels were killed in the fighting, the official said, along with two local residents killed while federal aviation pounded the area around Argun.

Information on casualties is difficult to verify, and both sides have minimized their own losses while exaggerating the other's.

Resident leaving the Shelkovsky region east of Grozny on Tuesday reported seeing rebels moving through the area and said there had been fighting in the region most of the previous night. The area was sealed off by federal troops Tuesday.

A Russian government spokesman said he had no information on any fighting in that area.