Russian Military Says 18 Chechen Fighters Killed
8 November 2004 -- Chechnya's pro-Russian administration says Russian troops today killed at least 18 separatist fighters in the Vedeno district.
First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov said that among the casualties was a man identified as Emir Suleiman, a top lieutenant of separatist field commander Shamil Basaev.
But Russia's RIA-Novosti quoted the office of Chechen President Alu Alkhanov as saying that Suleiman escaped unscathed.
Suleiman, who is also known as Khairula, is believed to have masterminded the bomb attack that killed Chechen President Akhmed Kadyrov last May. Basaev has claimed responsibility for the assassination.
Today's Chechen rebel death toll is one of the highest reported by the pro-Moscow authorities in recent months.