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Chechnya Bombing Suspects Arrested - 2001-08-26

Two men have been arrested in Chechnya in connection with a marketplace bomb Saturday that killed three people, including a 10-year-old boy. Eleven civilians were wounded in the attack.

The arrests were made within hours of the bombing in Chechnya's second city Gudermes. The bomb exploded Saturday in the city's central market. The target is understood to have been the nearby Russian police barracks.

Authorities say the bomb apparently exploded prematurely, killing two of the bombers. The other victims, mostly women, were ordinary people doing their Saturday grocery shopping.

The conflict in the breakaway republic continues to claim lives 22 months after Russian forces returned to Chechnya.

During the past 48 hours, Russia says it defused seven mines on the road to the capital Grozny. In the same period, Chechen rebels claim to have carried out 44 attacks, killing six Russian soldiers and wounding 19 more.

Russia began its 1999 operation in Chechnya following the bombing of apartment blocks in Russian cities. Moscow says its aim is to quell terrorist actions, but during the past six months there have been four major terrorist acts linked to Chechnya. The conflict has become a brutal guerrilla war, costing thousands of lives on both sides.