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Tuesday, 18 September, 2001, 07:57 GMT 08:57 UK
Mass arrests after Chechnya attacks
Russian forces helicopter heads into Grozny
Russian forces claim they have regained control
Russian authorities say they have detained more than 400 people following new rebel attacks in Chechnya, including a bold assault on the second largest city, Gudermes.

Ten senior officers died when their helicopter was shot down by rebels over the capital Grozny.

We have bombed and shelled a number of areas. We are conducting operations in practically all areas of Chechnya

General Valery Baranov
At least 10 Russian army troops were also killed during the rebel attack on Gudermes, the administrative base for many pro-Moscow officials.

In the town of Argun, an apparent suicide driver crashed his lorry into some administrative offices, killing one person and injuring another.

Russian General Valery Baranov told Russian TV that his forces had now regained control of the areas of Gudermes which had fallen into rebel hands on Monday.

He said suspected rebel strongholds had been bombed across Chechnya, and that more than 400 people had been detained.

Brazen ambush

Gudermes was one of the first cities to be recaptured from rebels when Russia began its second war in the separatist republic two years ago and was temporarily the seat of the pro-Moscow administration.

The assault is among the worst outbreaks of violence since the start of the year.

A woman views the rubble in Grozny
Gudermes has escaped the devastation of Grozny
Correspondents say that the string of assaults are a blow to Moscow's attempts to portray life in the republic as returning to normal, and also display that the rebels are well equipped and well organised.

A portable missile was used to bring down the Mi-8 helicopter after it took off from Grozny. It was shot down near government headquaters.

The fuel tank exploded on impact, according to the authorities.

Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov said about 300 rebels were involved in the attack on Gudermes, which started early on Monday with attacks on Russian outposts and administrative buildings.

General Baranov said Russian troops killed at least 15 rebels during the day.

In Argun, officials said that a local security guard was killed and a soldier wounded when the truck, which was carrying explosives, crashed into a building.

"They exploded the vehicle. This was a failure of ours. But we will work, work in the long term, together and collectively," said commandant Nikolai Sidorenko.

See also:

06 Sep 01 | Europe
Chechnya's decade of disaster
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