Chechenya attacks Khasbulatov town

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MOSCOW - Government forces in the breakaway republic of Chechnya launched an artillery, tank and helicopter attack yesterday on the stronghold of the opposition leader Ruslan Khasbulatov, the Interfax news agency reported.

The long-expected assault on Tolstoy-Yurt by troops loyal to President Dzhokhar Dudayev marked a sharp escalation in the conflict amid widespread fear that it will degenerate into full-scale civil war in the region.

Opposition fighters appeared to be repelling the attacks, the report said. AP