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Russia: Chechnya Orders Three Days Of Mourning

GROZNY, 15 September 1999 (RFE/RL) - The leader of Russia's breakaway region of Chechnya has ordered three days of mourning for the victims of what Chechen officials describe as Russian bombing raids on villages in the north Caucasus. Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov's press office said today that the bombing raids--the latest of which Chechnya says took place yesterday--have killed up to 200 people. But Vladimir Kozlov--head of the Russian Interior Ministry's organized crime unit--denied that Russian forces have attacked civilian targets in Chechnya. He said Russian forces have mounted air strikes against guerrilla bases as part of an operation to drive Islamic rebels from the southern republic of Dagestan. He said Russian forces will continue to hit the suspected bases of Islamic rebels. Moscow accuses the militants of being behind two apartment building bombings in the Russian capital, which have left more than 210 people dead. Chechen officials deny involvement in the bombings.