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VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia (AP) _ Russian troops searched for rebels and their sympathizers on Sunday in the Chechen capital, sealing off the city and preventing traffic from entering or leaving, an official in the Kremlin-backed Chechen administration said.

Reinforcements were brought to Grozny to assist in the large-scale security sweep, in which more than 100 people suspected of assisting the rebels were detained, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Human rights groups and foreign governments watching Russia's handling of the breakaway province have criticized the sweeps for alleged abuses. Chechen civilians have accused servicemen of carrying out arbitrary detentions, looting and even killing during the checks.

Meanwhile, three Russian servicemen were killed and three were wounded in rebel attacks on Russian positions and checkpoints over the past 24 hours, the official said.

In the village of Komsomolskoye, two rebels were killed in a clash with police after they were stopped at a checkpoint for a passport check, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. One traffic policeman was killed in the gunfight.

The Russian air force flew several combat sorties on Saturday, hitting suspected rebel camps in Vedeno and Itum-Kale, also in southern Chechnya.

The Russian military has long insisted that the active phase of the war in Chechnya is over. But while large-scale fighting has ceased, rebels stage daily attacks on Russian positions.

The 1994-6 war between separatists and Russian troops left Chechnya with de facto independence. Russian forces returned in 1999 after rebels invaded a neighboring Russian region and after apartment house bombings around Russia that left 300 dead.