Russian jets and helicopter gunships bombed and strafed the burning Chechen capital Friday, while Grozny's remaining residents tried to flee the city.

Numerous casualties were reported in the second straight daylight raid on the capital of the separatist republic. Black smoke billowed over the city, and the roads were packed with cars leaving Grozny.With warplanes flying overhead and artillery booming in the distance, some stopped to bury their dead.

In one snow-covered cemetery, about 30 Chechen men stood holding hands and praying as they buried 23-year-old Ruslan Pashayev.

"He was in his car in the center of town, driving past a movie theater, when a bomb fell. He was killed by the shrapnel," said his 26-year-old cousin, Yusup Dalayev.

Pashayev's body, wrapped in a white sheet and a carpet, lay on a stretcher before the men put him into the ground.

"We don't understand it, we just don't understand," said 75-year-old Beysultan Isayev, a mourner with blue eyes and a lambskin cap above a long beard. He said he was a veteran of Russia's fight against Nazi Germany during World War II.

A jet flew low overhead, dropping a bomb that exploded with a crack and a flash just a few hundred yards away.

"It's terrible, it's so terrible," Isayev said.

While civilians who could fled the city, volunteer fighters in green headbands stayed behind to fight. Many of the residents left in Grozny were ethnic Russians with no place to go.

A Chechen tank and forces pulling a large artillery piece headed out to try to stop the Russian advance. The main road out of Grozny to the east was pockmarked by Russian rockets.

Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev, who has led his republic's drive for independence from Moscow, went on national television Thursday night to urge his people to wage an Islamic holy war against Russia.

Dudayev, reportedly directing his republic's military operations from a bomb shelter near the presidential palace in Grozny, said it was better to die with honor in a holy war than to enter slavery.

At least two dozen people were killed on Thursday as Russian jets swooped low over Grozny and released their explosives.

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The corpses of several people who had rushed out to treat dead and wounded lay in a pile after a warplane fired a rocket at them. Another victim was a 28-year-old American photographer, Cynthia Elbaum of New York.

Dudayev's presidential building, a main target for Russian planes, had shattered windows but was still standing. So were other buildings on Grozny's Freedom Square.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin was working on a plan to end the bloody crisis peacefully, his press service said.

Yeltsin has remained out of the public eye since 10,000 to 40,000 Russian troops entered Chechnya.

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