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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Villages Swept for Rebels

VLADIKAVKAZ, North Ossetia — Riot police swept into two central Chechen villages on Thursday to search for suspected rebels as insurgents continued to strike at federal checkpoints and positions in Chechnya.

One soldier was killed and five were wounded in 15 separate attacks on federal positions over the past 24 hours, an official in the Kremlin-appointed Chechen administration said Thursday.

Another soldier was killed and one was wounded Wednesday when their jeep detonated a land mine in the capital Grozny, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Three riot policemen were killed and eight were wounded Wednesday when a military truck ran over a land mine in Starye Atagi, one of two villages where police were conducting a so-called mopping-up operation where residents are rounded up and interrogated about possible links to rebel groups.

A second operation was launched in the town of Alkhan-Kala, 12 kilometers west of Grozny.

At least 80 people have been detained in the latest search operations, the official said.

Click here to read our special report on the Conflict in Chechnya.

Meanwhile, the judge in the trial of Colonel Yury Budanov, on trial for murdering a Chechen girl, said Thursday that more forensic evidence from the victim needed to be examined.

Judge Viktor Kostin said there was no need to exhume the body of 18-year-old Heda Kungayeva, but that evidence from military forensic expert Vladimir Lenenko should be re-evaluated.