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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

3 Soldiers Die in Chechen Rebel Ambush

Three soldiers from the Defense Ministry's elite Vostok battalion on patrol in eastern Chechnya were killed Monday when they came under fire from between eight to 10 fighters, a military official said.

Two soldiers died from gunfire, a source in the Vostok battalion told Interfax. One of the fighters then detonated a grenade, taking his own life and that of a third soldier shortly after backup troops arrived on the scene, the source said.

The rebel fighter was identified by Ali Tsakalayev, who had surrendered in 2003 under an amnesty deal before rejoining the insurgency, the source said.

Troops were searching for the remaining members of the detachment Monday evening, the source said.

In the course of the search, an armored personnel carrier fell into a camouflaged underground hideout operated by the rebels. Troops found and destroyed a cache of explosives and weapons, the source said.

Also on Monday, police and security agents clashed with gunmen holed up in a village in Dagestan, killing at least one gunman, a law enforcement official said.

Between two and four militants were believed to have entered the village of Kosyakino from neighboring Chechnya, regional Interior Ministry spokeswoman Angela Martirosova said.

Fighting broke out before dawn when police and agents from the regional Federal Security Service confronted the gunmen and ordered them to surrender, she said. Police were searching for the other gunmen.

Like other provinces in the poor, largely Muslim North Caucasus, Dagestan, located on the Caspian Sea, has seen increasing violence directed at police and government officials, spilling over from war-wracked Chechnya.

(AP, MT)