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South Ossetian Villages Come Under Fire

Georgian President Saakashvili has vowed to assert control over breakaway regions (file photo) 25 October 2004 -- Unidentified assailants shelled villages in Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia today.

Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Guram Donadze said the assailants fired automatic weapons and grenade launchers at the villages of Tamarasheni and Achabeti, populated by ethnic Georgians.

No injuries have been reported, but several houses are said to have been damaged.

Georgian parliamentary speaker Nino Burdzhanadze blamed the shelling on the region's separatist authorities.

Major General Marat Kulakhmetov, commander of the joint Russian, Georgian, and South Ossetian peacekeeping force in the region, said that shots were fired both at and from the village.

South Ossetia has run its own affairs, with Russian support, since breaking away from Georgia's central government more than a decade ago.

But Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has vowed to restore control over South Ossetia.


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