Fighting in the southern Russian region of Dagestan is reported to be intensifying, with claims from Islamic guerrillas that they have repelled a Russian assault on one of their strongholds. According to the guerrillas 60 Russian soldiers were killed in the assault, but there is no independent confirmation of the figure. The claim follows the arrival of the Russian defence and interior ministers in the region to co-ordinate the campaign against the Islamic guerrillas. The ministers will be meeting local officials to discuss a new offensive against the rebels. 500 more Russian troops are reported to have been flown into Dagestan.