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More explosions, shootings in South Ossetia

By Mikheil Svanidze
Friday, May 30
A car bomb and multiple shootings rocked breakaway South Ossetia yesterday morning, reportedly injuring seven and sparking accusations of terrorism and deception.

Separatist South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity alleged the Georgian government plotted the attacks. “Georgian special forces are behind these terrorist acts,” he told South Ossetian news media.

Tbilisi denied any connection with the incidents.

A Georgian Defense Ministry spokesman, speaking to regional reporters, said Georgia had nothing to do with the bombing. Television station Rustavi 2, which follows the government line in its conflict zone coverage, reported the car bomb was likely linked to a “clash between armed separatist groups.”

Shortly before nine in the morning yesterday a BMW blew up near a South Ossetian police station, according to the official separatist press service.

Six police were reportedly injured; four were taken to hospital in the North Ossetian capital Vladikavkaz.

Two hours later, separatist South Ossetian authorities reported three separate shootings in the conflict region.

Two of them, according to South Ossetian reports, were attacks on vehicles in rural areas. In the third, one person was lightly injured by fire directed at the outskirts of the de facto secessionist capital Tskhinvali.

The shootings were not confirmed by peacekeepers or Georgian forces. They followed heavy gunfire on May 27 which damaged several houses in the Georgian-controlled village of Tamarasheni, which is adjacent to Tskhinvali.

The car bomb accusations played out in reverse on May 18, when a roadside bomb hit a Georgian police car and injured an officer. Georgian officials accused the separatist South Ossetian administration of engaging in terrorism, while Tskhinvali suggested Georgia was behind the blast.