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Three Georgians Killed In Latest South Ossetia Clash

18 August 2004 -- Georgia says three of its soldiers were killed in the latest fighting with forces from the country's South Ossetia separatist region.

An Interior Ministry official told Rustavi 2 television today that five other Georgian soldiers were injured in the clash near the South Ossetian village of Sarabuk.

Ibragim Gassiyev, South Ossetia's deputy defense minister, said Georgian forces were mounting an assault on the village, near Tskhinvali, but a local Georgian police chief Aleko Sukhitashvili said South Ossetian forces had started the fighting.

The latest fighting came hours after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili called for the international community to help end the crisis. His plea came as deadly clashes between Georgian and South Ossetian forces have been reported on an almost daily basis for the past week.