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Russia: Conflict In Dagestan Intensifies

Moscow, 6 September 1999 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Emergencies Ministry says the death toll from an explosion at a Russian military apartment building in Dagestan has climbed to 36, with 110 people injured. The explosion late Saturday in the city of Buinaksk destroyed an apartment block mainly housing the families of Russian servicemen who have been fighting Islamic insurgents in Dagestan. Russian officials have directly linked the blast to the continuing conflict with the rebels. Moscow said it was sending some 1,500 federal troops to battle rebels who crossed into western Dagestan from neighboring Chechnya yesterday and seized several villages, opening a new front in the conflict. The rebels--said to number up to 2,000--were reported to have Russian police surrounded in the village of Novolakskoye. Dagestani authorities announced a general mobilization of the population, saying the crisis is acute and that the republic is in danger of losing its territorial integrity.