The Second Chechen war began on 26th August 1999, when Chechen militants invaded the neighboring Russian republic of Daghestan. The Russian response was a bit more mature, and the army showed a lot of professionalism this time. The war ended in May 2000 with the defeat of the Chechen militants. A large number of the rebel leaders were killed during the fighting, including several hundred foreign Muslim mujaheddin from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Some of the rebel leaders escaped Chechnya (like Ilyas Akhmadov) and were granted refuge in the United States. Similar to the first Chechen war, the second war also started with heavy bombardment of Groznyy by the Russian forces. Several hundreds of civilians were killed, unlike the tens of thousands who lost their lives during the first war. Rather than taking Groznyy first, the Russian forces first conquered the smaller towns and villages in the Northern and Central parts of the republic, encircling the Chechen capital. Once Groznyy fell, the battle shifted to the mountains. The federal forces soon routed the rebels, although they faced occasional heavy fighting like that occurred near the Height 776.