Chechen Rebels Claim Credit for Attacks

Scores of Islamic militants launched simultaneous attacks on police and government buildings in this city in Russia's turbulent Caucasus region Thursday, sparking battles that killed at least 49 people.

Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks, which forced the evacuation of schools and left corpses littering the streets of Nalchik, the capital of the republic of Kabardino-Balkariya.

The Chechen rebels' decade-long struggle against Russia, originally a separatist movement, has melded increasingly with Islamic extremism in the past decade and spread far beyond Chechnya's borders to encompass the whole turbulent Russian Caucasus region.