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Heavy Fighting Reported In Grozny

GROZNY, March 6 (RFE/RL) - Fresh attacks by Chechen rebels on Russian army posts are reported in the Chechen capital Grozny today.

Itar Tass news agency quotes the Russian Military Commander in Chechnya, Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, as saying the new attacks on four army posts came at noon local time. It followed earlier fighting, the heaviest in several months, in the city centre near the rubble of the presidential palace, demolished by Russian troops last month.

An AFP reporter in Grozny says the rebels now control one of the city's main thoroughfares.

Automatic gunfire, heavy machinegun and mortar fire were heard this morning in the Staropromyslovsky and Zavodskoi districts. Most of the city's oil processing facilities are located in these two districts.

Russian television quoted a Russian Interior Ministry official in Chechnya as saying that the separatists had abducted five members of the pro-Moscow Chechen police.

The fighting comes a day before Russian President Boris Yeltsin is to chair a meeting of his security council to discuss a peace plan for the region.