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Six Injured in Abkhaz Blasts
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 29 Jun.'08 / 20:16

Six people were injured as a result of two explosions in the center of the breakaway Abkhaz town of Gagra early on June 29, Abkhaz officials said.

Two explosions, coming within five minutes of each other, occurred in the town, which is a tourist area for mostly Russian visitors. One blast was reported to have happened close to the town’s market, injuring six local residents, and another at a nearby supermarket, slightly injuring five people, one of whom was hospitalized in Sochi.

“These are terrorist acts against Abkhazia, against Russians holidaying in our country,” Interfax news agency quoted Sergey Bagapsh, the Abkhaz leader, as saying. “Georgia is behind these terrorist acts. Georgia hasn't given up its attempts to destabilize Abkhazia.”

Tengiz Lakerbaia, an official from the Abkhaz tourism department, told RIA Novosti news agency that the blasts “are apparently aimed at destroying the tourism season” in the region.

Georgia has strongly denied the allegation. MP Nika Rurua, a deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee for defense and security, said the blasts were aimed at “terrorizing the local population” in order to increase anti-Georgian sentiment in the region. Other officials in Tbilisi also suggested that the blasts were a result of a power struggle among various Abkhaz criminal groups.

A blast was also reported a few days ago in the Abkhaz capital Sokhumi, but it was downplayed by Abkhaz officials as “an act of hooliganism.”

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