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One Dies, Four Injured in S.Ossetia Shootout
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 16 Jun.'08 / 10:59

One man was killed and four people injured in Tskhinvali as a result of an overnight shootout on June 14-15 between Georgian and South Ossetian forces.

The shootout, according to the secessionist South Ossetian authorities, started late on Saturday when the breakaway region’s capital, Tskhinvali, came under mortar fire from the Georgian-control villages of Ergneti and Nikozi in the conflict zone.

The breakaway region’s interior minister, Mikhail Mindzaev, said on Sunday that South Ossetian forces were responding to Georgian fire on the eastern and south-eastern outskirts of Tskhinvali at about 11:20pm local time on June 14.

He said that the exchange of fire, with several small intervals, lasted for about four hours.

The Russian news agency, RIA Novosti, quoting the commander of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces stationed in the conflict zone as saying that the shootout lasted for about an hour and a half.

A women and two young men were hospitalized with serious injures in the local Tskhinvali hospital and one of them died of injuries in the hospital later on June 15. Two other people were slightly wounded, the South Ossetian Press and Information Committee reported.

The Georgian side, however, has strongly denied firing the first shot, instead claiming its forces responded to a South Ossetian barrage of fire on three Georgian-controlled villages in the conflict zone – Ergneti, Nikozi and Prisi.

Georgian news agencies reported that no one was injured in the Georgian-controlled villages, but several houses were damaged.

In a separate incident a 14-year-old boy died as a result of injuries sustained in a mine explosion in a field close to the Georgian village of Ergneti earlier on June 14.

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