Vladikavkaz, Russia; 11 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- An official in the Kremlin-backed Chechen administration said today that separatist forces in Chechnya killed five federal servicemen over the past 24 hours. Speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, he said three soldiers died and seven were injured in 14 separate rebel attacks on federal positions. Two servicemen and two rebels were killed in a separate clash near Meskety.
Russian aviation and artillery pounded several regions around the republic, and federal forces detained more than 130 suspects in sweeping raids. Chechnya's rebels launch daily small attacks on Russian forces, who far outnumber the insurgents but have been unable to uproot them in nearly four years of fighting.
ITAR-TASS news agency reports that a grenade explosion in the capital Grozny injured an eight-year-old girl in an abandoned house where she was playing.