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Abkhaz Claim Georgia's Spy Plane Shot Down
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 20 Apr.'08 / 13:10

The Abkhaz side said its air defense system shot down Georgia’s unmanned reconnaissance plane over Gali district early on April 20, the Russian news agencies reported.

“The spy plane has been shot down,” Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, told RIA Novosti news agency. “Now search for wreckage is ongoing.”

The incident, according to the Abkhaz side occurred at about 10am local time over the village of Gagida.

A similar incident was reported on March 18 by the Abkhaz side, when it said that Georgia’s medium-size unmanned spy plane, produced by Israel’s Elbit Systems, was shot down over Gali district. The Georgian side denied that report.

On April 20 the Georgian Public Broadcaster and Rustavi 2 TV station have both reported about an incident in the Gali district, alledgedly involving a combat helicopter firing at unspecified targets on the ground. The both stations have showed a woman, claimed to be an eyewitness, who claimed that she had seen “a Russian helicopter, which fired explosives.” No other details were reported. The TV stations did not report about the Abkhaz side’s claims that Georgia’s spy plane was shot down. In its news bulletin at 1pm local time Mze TV only said: “unmanned spy plane exploded in Gali district. State Minister for Reintegration, Temur Iakobashvili, has confirmed it.”

Georgian InterPressNews agency reported quoting, as it said, “an eyewitness” that an unmanned plane was seen over coastline at the village of Primorskoe in the Gali district, which was followed by a jet; this latter shot down the unmanned plane, according to this report.

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