VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia – Chechen rebels (search) ambushed and killed five Russian troops and pro-Moscow policemen responding to an emergency call about the shooting of a village elder, officials said Friday.
In a separate incident, two Russian servicemen were killed and two others wounded by a land mine in the Chechen capital, Grozny (search).
Russian planes also bombarded suspected rebel positions in the Nozhai-Yurt district, and artillery was used in several other districts.
The ambushed troops and policemen were responding to an emergency call in Vashindaroi, where about 20 unidentified, camouflaged men dragged the chairman of the council of elders, Alavdi Alsabayev (search), from his house and killed him, said an official in the Moscow-backed administration.
The ambush victims included Said-Ibragim Shamayev, son of Chechnya's chief mufti, or Muslim spiritual leader, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Also Friday, the Chechen prosecutor's office said it identified the suicide bomber who blew herself up at a religious ceremony in May, killing 16.
Larisa Musalayeva, 26, and another female suicide bomber are suspected of trying to kill Akhmad Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya's Moscow-backed administration, at the gathering, the Interfax news agency said.
Chechen Prosecutor Vladimir Kravchenko said Musalayeva's brother also was behind several terrorist attacks, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
Russian forces have been bogged down in Chechnya since 1999, when they returned following rebel raids on a neighboring region and a series of deadly apartment-house bombings in Russian cities.
Before that, Russian troops fought a 1994-1996 war with Chechen separatists that ended in a Russian retreat and de facto independence for the region.