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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2 Biggest Chechen Cities Empty

NAZRAN, Ingushetia -- Streets, markets and administration buildings in Chechnya's two largest cities stood empty Tuesday, as jittery residents and officials stayed home the day after one of the largest, most coordinated rebel attacks in months.

Militants fired a surface-to-air missile at a Mi-8 helicopter Monday over Grozny, killing two generals and eight other senior officers. Another rebel group raided the city of Gudermes on Monday, coming from different directions and firing automatic weapons and grenade launchers at federal outposts and administrative buildings.

On Tuesday, no helicopters could be seen above Grozny and the streets and outdoor markets were nearly devoid of civilians, Interfax reported.

Click here to read our special report on the Conflict in Chechnya.In Gudermes, offices of the pro-Moscow administration and many schools were closed Tuesday, an administration official said on condition of anonymity.

At least seven federal troops and three policemen were killed in the assault, as well as 15 rebels, Interfax cited city officials as saying Tuesday.

The brazen assault hit one of the first cities seized by the Russians after troops entered Chechnya in September 1999, and one where many officials in the region's Kremlin-appointed administration are based. It was also an unusually well-organized action by the rebels, who the Russians have long claimed are near defeat and who have mainly relied on small-scale raids and mine planting over the past year.

The head of the Moscow-appointed Chechen administration, Akhmad Kadyrov, lambasted federal troops and his own administration for allowing the attack. "I place the entire blame on the power structures, both federal and those operating in the territory of the republic," he said. "Agencies bound to guarantee the security of the residents of Chechnya should be held responsible for what has happened."

Kadyrov left Tuesday for a tour of Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Jordan to seek aid for Chechen civilians and discuss the fight against international terrorism. Kadyrov, Chechnya's Moslem leader, was accompanied by muftis from three other Moslem Russian republics.