Russia: January 3, 2000

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Moslem extremists attacked the Russian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon with rocket grenades. One attacker was killed, as was one policeman. Two civilians were injured. Some damage was done to the embassy compound, but no one in the embassy was injured. No organization took responsibility for the attack, although the attackers were reported to say they were doing it to protest Russias war against Moslems in Chechnya. Meanwhile, Russian troops continued to battle Chechen rebels in the foothills south of Grozny. Rebels also claim to have retaken four villages southwest of Grozny, although such actions will probably attract rapid counterattacks from the Russians. The rebels are apparently attempting to link up with the thousand or so rebels inside the city so that the rebels in the city can escape. The rebels seem to believe their best tactic now is to carry on a long guerilla war. This would provide time to negotiate a new independence deal with the Russians. Or the Russians might get tired of guerilla warfare and just leave. This is unlikely unless the Russians can be assured that there will be no more attempts to cause rebellion in neighboring areas. Inside Grozny, the rebels are resisting the Russian advance with snipers and landmines. Because the Russians cannot sustain popular support for the war unless they keep their casualties down, these rebel tactics slow down the advance considerably. Meanwhile, the Russian offer of amnesty to Chechen rebels has so far attracted some 500 takers.

 

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