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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Chechens accused of terrorism links

The chief spokesman of Russia's internal security service has said that a recent upsurge in fighting in Chechnya was linked to last week's attacks in New York and Washington.

The spokesman, Alexander Zdanovich, who is in the Chechen capital Grozny, said rebel attacks this week in the town of Gudermes and other parts of Chechnya were an attempt to demonstrate solidarity with terrorists who carried out the attacks in the United States.

He also said that money was being brought to Chechnya to fund what he called further acts of terrorism.

Correspondents say that Moscow wants to convince the United States and European powers that Chechen separatist fighters have ties to radical Islamic groups outside Russia.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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