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‘Intensive Shootout’ Reported in S.Ossetia
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Aug.'08 / 17:52

An intensive exchange of fire broke in the South Ossetian conflict zone, the secessionist authorities and Russian peacekeepers said.

The Georgian side has also confirmed the shooting incident, but said the incident was already resolved.

The South Ossetian side has claimed that the Georgian forces opened fire in direction of the Khetagurov village in the south-west from Tskhinvali.

An aide to the commander of the Russian peacekeeping troops in the region, Vladimir Ivanov, told Interfax news agency that the shootout started at about 4:30pm local time on August 6.

“A massive fire broke out between the Georgian and Ossetian sides in the vicinity of the villages of Avnevi and Khetagurov,” he said.

Shota Utiashvili, the Georgian interior ministry’s spokesman, however, said that the South Ossetian side opened fire first in direction of the Georgian villages of Avnevi, Nuli and Dvani.

“Grenade launchers were mainly used,” he told Civil.Ge. “We have notified the peacekeeping forces and warned them to take measures and after that shooting were ceased... No one is injured.”

Earlier on August 6, the South Ossetian side reported that its posts were attacked by the Georgian forces by the noon when they allegedly tried to take over the strategic height close to the Nuli village. The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, however, rejected that report.

Eduard Kokoity, the South Ossetian secessionist leader, told Interfax in the evening on August 6, that the South Ossetian side “forced the Georgian forces out from that height” by 6pm local time.

“The Georgian special purpose unit was forced to quit the height and now we control it,” he said.

The so called Nuli heights are overlooking a by-pass road controlled by the South Ossetian side, which links Tskhinvali with the Ossetian villages in the Znauri district in west and south-west from Tskhinvali.

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