Twelve people, including at least six civilians, were killed in an attack late Tuesday on a Russian military convoy in Chechnya. At least six others were injured.
The Russian news agency Interfax said the 12 were killed when Chechen rebels blew up a car packed with explosives as a military convoy passed an outdoor market in the village of Oktyabrskoye, southeast of the Chechen capital, Grozny. The report said the rebels then opened fire on the convoy of two trucks and an armored personnel carrier.
Authorities say one suspected rebel was arrested.
Recent days have seen an increase in attacks against Russian forces in the breakaway republic. Interfax also reported Wednesday that one policeman was killed and two wounded at a checkpoint in the southern mountains of Chechnya while rebel attacks killed one policeman and wounded another in the village of Makhkety.
The Itar-Tass news agency reports that Russian forces have been stepping up their activity in the region with helicopter gunships firing on suspected rebel positions in the mountains of the Itum-Kale region.
Tuesday's attack was the deadliest in Chechnya since a car bomb killed 22 civilians in the southwestern town of Alkhan-Yurt last December. This past weekend a bomb in Chechnya's second largest city, Gudermes, killed three people, including a 10-year-old boy.
The violence has repeatedly spilled over into other southern Russian republics as well. In the past six months there have been four major attacks in Russia and abroad linked to the rebellion in Chechnya.
Russia has been trying for nearly two years to put down a separatist rebellion there and claims to have re-established control over much of the republic. But rebel attacks are an almost daily occurrence.