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Heaviest assault yet on Chechen hostage-takers

helicopter/truck

Russians vow to "flatten" town

From Correspondent Eileen O'Connor and wire reports

January 17, 1996
Web posted at: 7:05 a.m EST (1250 GMT)

Chechnya map

PERVOMAISKAYA, Russia (CNN) -- Facing three separate challenges from Chechen rebels or their supporters, Russian forces stepped up their assault on hostage-holding Chechen fighters in a southern Russian village. An intense bombardment that included ground-launched GRAD rocket , helicopter gunships and artillery was fired into Pervomaiskaya after the Russian military said it could do no more to free the captives.



O'Connor

Correspondent Eileen O'Connor was only a few hundred yards from the rockets when they were launched.

She was giving a live report by phone to CNN anchor Andrea Arceneaux.

-- (187K AIFF sound or 187K WAV sound)
-- (238 K AIFF sound or 238K WAV sound)


At the same time, Turkish authorities appeared content to allow a hijacked ferry, with more than 200 people on board, to wander the Black Sea coast despite threats from pro-Chechen gunmen to blow it up. Guerrillas were also holding about 30 workers -- mostly Russians -- seized Tuesday at an electric power plant near the Chechen capital of Grozny.



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