VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia — The Chechen capital, Grozny, was sealed off Sunday as Russian troops swept the streets for rebels and were on high alert for attacks.
Checkpoints were set up along the city's perimeter, and traffic into and out of Grozny was halted, the Interfax news agency reported.
Russian commanders were worried that the separatist rebels might be planning an offensive today to mark the date in 1996 when they captured Grozny from Russian forces. Russia has since regained control of the city.
Previous such anniversaries have passed without incident. Gen. Sergei Kizyum, a Russian military commander in Chechnya, said the increased security was helping to maintain calm. But local officials said the blockade was unnecessary and disruptive.
Rebels, meanwhile, attacked Russian positions 12 times in 24 hours, killing one soldier and wounding two, an official said Sunday.
Two soldiers were also killed and two were wounded when their vehicles detonated land mines, the official said.
Despite having controlled Chechnya for months, Russian forces have been unable to stop daily attacks by small bands of rebels in the breakaway republic.
Russian troops left Chechnya after a humiliating defeat in the 1994-96 war. They returned in 1999.