announced that the final phase of the Chechen operation had already been completed. In any case, Putin went even further in his victory claims, saying in a separate interview that “organized resistance” in Chechnya had already been “crushed,” that no “large-scale military actions” were being carried out in the breakaway republic and that only “four or five” rebel bands were left. If true, those four or five bands were either very mobile or very numerous, given that mines and other explosive devices were claiming victims across the republic and that the Russian military forces were finding and defusing bombs dozens of others, particularly along railway lines. All of this suggested that the Chechen rebels had consulted the classic insurgency textbooks and reverted to terrorist activity that targeted both the Russian armed forces and those Chechens who were cooperating with them. Seven Russian servicemen were killed when a bomb went off in a cafe in the village of Chiri-Yurt October 29, and another eight were killed over a twenty-four-hour period between October 30 and October 31, around the same time that a Chechen police chief in a village in the Vedeno region was assassinated in his home. If this was in fact the “final phase” of the Chechen war, it looked likely to be a protracted one.