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Chechnya: Russian Forces Kill Rebel Commander

Moscow, 12 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The Russian military said today troops killed a leading Chechen rebel military commander responsible for training female suicide bombers. Military spokesman Ilya Shabalkin said 21-year-old Aslan Gasaev was killed during a special forces operation in the village of Alkhan-Kala.

Authorities were investigating whether Gasaev had played a role in a double suicide bombing at a rock concert in Moscow last week and in this week's attempted bombing of a restaurant in the capital.

Three of Gasaev's bodyguards were also killed.

Earlier today, a land-mine blast in the Vedeno district killed three Russian sappers and wounded three others.

In a separate explosion, two police officers were injured in Alkhan-Kala. Interfax said a woman and a child were hurt in a shootout that followed.