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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

13 Russian Servicemen Killed in Chechnya

NAZRAN, Russia - Thirteen Russian servicemen were killed and 17 were wounded in Chechen fighting over the past 24 hours, an official in the pro-Moscow administration said Sunday.

Also Sunday, two Russian soldiers were kidnapped near a street market in Grozny, the Chechen capital, by four men who rushed out of a car with darkened windows and forced the soliders into the vehicle at gunpoint, according to Chechen police and tradesmen in the market. The account could not immediately be confirmed.

Two Chechen rebel leaders suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of foreigners in Chechnya have been arrested in Azerbaijan's capital Baku and turned over to Russian authorities, officials said Sunday.

Ruslan Akhmadov, a Chechen field commander, and Badrudin Murtazayev, a top aide to warlord Shamil Basayev, were arrested last Wednesday and turned over to the Russians Saturday, said Orudzh Zalov, the deputy minister of Azerbaijan's internal affairs.

Akhmadov is suspected of complicity in more than 30 kidnappings in Chechnya, including the abduction in 1998 of three Britons and a New Zealander who were later killed, Itar-Tass reported, citing sources in the Russian Interior Ministry. Murtazayev was also involved in the kidnapping of foreigners for ransom, the report said.

In Chechnya, rebels attacked Russian checkpoints and other positions 24 times since Saturday, killing four Russian soldiers and wounding 13, the Chechen administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In Gudermes, Chechnya's second largest city, three servicemen were killed Saturday when rebels attacked their checkpoint. Two of the attackers died in the clash, the official said.

Another soldier died Saturday when rebels attacked two military jeeps in Grozny, the official said.

In Urus-Martan, southwest of the capital, four servicemen were killed Saturday when rebel gunmen attacked their armored personnel carrier after it hit a land mine.

Federal aviation continued to strafe and shell suspected rebel hideouts in the southern Vedeno district while artillery was fired against rebel bases in the Urus-Martan region southwest of Grozny and the Nozhai-Yurt region east of the capital near the border with Dagestan, the official said.

An explosive device derailed a freight train Sunday on the line between Gudermes and Khasavyurt, Itar-Tass reported, citing the Chechen prosecutor's office.

Sixteen months after Russian troops rolled into Chechnya, the war has ground to an apparent stalemate between federal troops and rebels who unleash daily mine explosions and ambushes.

Russian troops failed to suppress Chechnya's independence bid during the first, 1994-96 Chechen war. They returned to the breakaway republic in September 1999 following rebel incursions into a neighboring region and apartment bombings in Russia blamed on the rebels.