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South Ossetia Says Tskhinvali Hit By Mortars --> 20 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Authorities in South Ossetia said today that mortar shells hit the city of Tskhinvali as ceremonies marking the 15th anniversary of the region's de facto independence from Georgia were under way.

A statement released by the South Ossetian separatist government says the attack wounded seven people, including a 2-year-old child.

The statement says the shells were fired from the nearby ethnic Georgian village of Ergneti, an area that is not under the control of South Ossetian forces.

Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili today visited villages located in the demilitarized zone controlled by Tbilisi's peacekeepers.

The Georgian troops briefly closed the road linking Tskhinvali to Vladikavkaz, the capital of the neighboring Russian republic of North Ossetia. The incident delayed the departure of several Russian and North Ossetian guests who had come to Tskhinvali to attend independence ceremonies.

(RFE/RL/Imedi TV/Civil Georgia)