OT: Rockets Slam Grozny, Killing 118greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
GROZNY, Russia (AP) Salvos of rockets slammed into a crowded open air market and other parts of Grozny, including a maternity hospital, on Thursday, killing at least 118 people and injuring up to 400, a Chechen official said.
Chechnya said the rockets were fired by Russian forces moving in on the capital. The Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow denied responsibility.
Bleeding bodies and severed limbs were scattered throughout the market after six rockets exploded in the stalls, which were crowded with shoppers during the early evening attack.
At least four other rockets slammed into other parts of the city, including one that hit a maternity hospital, Magomed Magomadov, a senior government official, said.
He said 118 people were killed and between 300 people and 400 people were injured. Many of the injured were in critical condition, he said.
Russian forces moved into Chechnya in late September to impose a security zone around the breakaway republic and to wipe out Islamic militants. Earlier, Russia had been bombing militant bases after the militants invaded neighboring Dagestan twice this summer and were suspected of bombing four apartment blocks and killing about 300 people.
But the Russian advance prompted fears that the two sides would repeat their 1994-96 civil war, in which Russian forces were battered by street fighting, and Chechnya was left devastated but with de facto independence.
At the market on Thursday, hundreds of terrified people, many screaming and crying, ran for cover as rockets exploded. Streets were jammed with people trying to escape. Some onlookers tried to help the wounded.
``It was dark and then, all of a sudden, the place was illuminated and something was sparkling in the air. Then we heard the explosions,'' Umar Madayev said.
Grozny's already overcrowded and poorly equipped hospitals were packed with the injured. A few doctors, working with almost no medicine, operated under the glare of kerosene lamps because the electricity was out.
The wounded lay in pools of blood in the hospital's dirty, dark corridors, as there were not enough beds.
Russian troops, meanwhile, closed in on Grozny, with tanks and armored personnel carriers reportedly within eight miles of the city. Chechen officials said some Russian soldiers had been spotted even closer.
Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians, despite Chechen claims that hundreds have been killed. Russia has said it is aiming only at the militants.
Just a few hours before the explosions, the government issued a statement declaring that ``the fight against terrorists and bandits shall in no way turn into a fight against peoples of Chechnya.''
Russian warplanes bombed Grozny repeatedly last month, knocking out communications facilities, oil refineries and other installations. As ground troops neared Grozny this week, the capital's outskirts shook from the concussion of nearby shelling, but none of the shells apparently hit the city.
Russian officials said Thursday that more federal troops had crossed the Terek River to take up positions outside Grozny, with forward units sitting on the city outskirts.
Russian military leaders have sent mixed signals about whether they intended to send troops into the capital.
But Deputy Defense Minister, Gen. Vladimir Toporov, said: ``sooner or later, the troops will enter Grozny. If not troops, then the (Russian) authorities will.''
North of Grozny, Russian aircraft and artillery on Thursday pounded Chechen positions in three settlements: Tolstoy-Yurt, Goryachevodsk and Petropavlovskaya. Six people were killed, and 10 were wounded in the raids, Chechen officials said.
Russian artillery shelled villages in the Nozhai-Yurt and Gudermes regions of eastern Chechnya, destroying about 60 houses.
Vakha Ibragimov, a spokesman for Chechen military headquarters, said 58 civilians had been killed and 200 wounded in the last day and night of attacks outside the capital. The figure could not be independently confirmed.
Russia has waged a cautious, creeping offensive in Chechnya to avoid the heavy casualties it suffered in the last war with the province. They have relied on airstrikes and artillery, while trying to avoid ground clashes.
Also Thursday, Maskhadov's representative in Moscow, Mairbek Vachayev, was detained for unspecified reasons, Interfax reported, citing law-enforcement sources.
Maskhadov has been president of Chechnya since 1997, a few months after Russian troops pulled out after being defeated by Chechen rebels. Since then, Chechnya has been largely lawless, with Maskahdov unable to control the region's warlords.
-- sick2 (email@example.com), October 22, 1999
Russian Troops Encircling Grozny
Last Updated: Oct. 22, 1999 at 1:45:08 a.m.
GROZNY, Russia - Russian tanks and troops were encircling Grozny and plan to cut the city off from the outside world in the next few days as part of efforts to destroy Islamic militants, Russian officials said today.
The Russian announcement came as doctors and rescue workers struggled to clean up after at least 10 missiles slammed into the heart of Grozny, leaving scores of people dead and wounded.
Dozens of people were still awaiting medical care at Grozny's dilapidated central hospital today. The wounded lay in the corridor next to the bodies of people killed in the attack on Thursday evening.
Chechen officials claimed the rockets were fired by Russian forces moving in on the city. The Russian Defense Ministry denied responsibility.
Nikolai Koshman, Russia's senior representative for Chechnya, said the Russian military was close to encircling Grozny, but did not say if it would attempt to occupy the city. He said most settlements to the north and west of Grozny were already under Russian control.
The attack Thursday night was the worst on Grozny since fighting began in September. Chechen officials said 118 people had been killed and about 400 others were wounded, but there was no independent confirmation.
One rocket hit a maternity clinic and local officials said about 30 bodies had been recovered from the rubble, including several newborn children and women who had just given birth.
Most of the casualties happened in the city's central market, which was littered with shattered bodies, severed body parts and pools of blood after six rockets exploded amid the stalls. The attack happened in early evening, when people were shopping for food or sitting at open air cafes, witnesses said.
``It was dark and then all of a sudden, the place was illuminated and something was sparkling in the air. Then we heard the explosions,'' said Umar Madayev, a survivor.
Hundreds of terrified people, many screaming and crying, ran for cover as the rockets exploded in the market. Surrounding streets were jammed with survivors and others trying to escape. Some onlookers tried to help wounded survivors who staggered away from the devastated area.
Russian troops with tanks and armored personnel carriers reportedly were less than eight miles outside Grozny. Chechen officials said some Russian soldiers had been spotted even closer.
Russia sent troops into Chechnya at the end of September, following weeks of airstrikes, ostensibly to eliminate Islamic militants who invaded neighboring Dagestan this summer. The militants are also blamed for a series of September apartment explosions in Russia that killed some 300 people.
Russian officials have repeatedly denied targeting civilians, despite Chechen claims that hundreds have been killed. Russia has said it is aiming only at the militants.
In a tough statement on its aims, Moscow said it was determined to restore law and order in the breakaway region, which has had de facto independence since driving Russian forces out after a 1994-96 independence war.
``The government of the Russian Federation hereby declares that its future actions will be equally determined and tough, aimed at complete restoration of law and order on the whole territory of Chechnya and the entire liberation of Chechnya from terrorist and other bandit formations,'' the statement said.
It was still not clear if the government's aim was to reoccupy all of Chechnya, with the statement saying: ``At the same time, the government of the Russian Federation unequivocally declares that the fight against terrorists and bandits shall in no way turn into a fight against the peoples of Chechnya.''
Grozny might be stormed, but only if it helps achieve the larger goal of eliminating Chechen militants, Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said Thursday.
Meanwhile, Russian officials said more federal troops had crossed the Terek River to take up positions outside Grozny, with forward units sitting on the city outskirts.
In other fighting Thursday, Russian aircraft and artillery pounded Chechen positions in three settlements north of Grozny: Tolstoy-Yurt, Goryachevodsk and Petropavlovskaya. Six people were killed and 10 were wounded in the raids, Chechen officials said.
Russian artillery also shelled villages in the Nozhai-Yurt and Gudermes regions of eastern Chechnya, destroying about 60 houses.
-- itsa (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 22, 1999.
Just a little warm-up for what is yet to come. Let's keep sending them money and food, oh yeh they're working on y2k, too. Got PI?
-- Bill (email@example.com), October 22, 1999.
In 1942, the NAZI drive to capture the Caucasus oil fields was halted at Grozny.
Perhaps the Moslems will remember that Martyrs eat lamb in Paradise attended by lovely Maidens and do to the Russians what they did to the Nazis!
-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in January.com), October 22, 1999.
Imagine the size of boot to kick whoevers ass if four bombs, say, in N.Y., Atlanta, L.A., and Chicago, set by terrorist, or whoever TPTB sez it is, exploded killing US citizens. It's hell looking in the mirror sometimes.
-- Uncle Sam (U S@beenthere donethat.com), October 22, 1999.