Russia: August 8, 2003

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Russian forces in Ingushtia are searching the Chechen border for a band of armed rebel. A military convoy returning from an escort mission to the Chechen border came under rebel fire near the village of Nesterovskaya at around 6:30 PM on the night of the 7th. The attackers used grenade launchers and a large-caliber machine-gun, killing six and wounding seven Russian troops.

This may be an indicator of a new rebel offensive. August has always been a hot month for fighting in Chechnya. In 1996, a primarily Chechen rebel force began the Second Battle of Grozny and took the capital by the end of the month (which ultimately brought about an end to the First Chechen War). In 1999, Islamic radicals (mostly foreigners from Arabic states) invaded Dagestan and started the Second Chechen War. 

In the last week alone, the Russians have killed 30 rebels in Chechnya (by comparison, they claimed that only 22 rebels were killed in July). They also found and destroyed over 40 shelters and caches with arms and ammunition. A total of 39 RPGs, 23 small arms, three flame-throwers, 36,000 cartridges, 198 artillery and mortar shells, 34kg of explosives, 35 antitank and antipersonnel mines were seized. Sappers found and defused 15 landmines planted by rebels on roads and at various buildings. - Adam Geibel 

 

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