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Casualties Reported In South Ossetia Border Clash

A South Ossetian soldier pictured near Tskhinvali (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) September 8, 2006 -- Media reports from Georgia and its breakaway South Ossetia region say a clash between Georgian and separatist forces in the conflict zone has left casualties on both sides.

According to Georgian officials, one Georgian policeman died and two others were injured when they came under fire while chasing suspected smugglers in the Tskhinvali region.

According to the South Ossetians, three South Ossetian militiamen died when Georgian troops attacked a checkpoint they were manning.

The Joint Peacekeeping Force -- which includes Georgian, Russian, and South and North Ossetian troops -- says it is investigating the incident.

South Ossetia broke away from Georgian government control following a war in the early 1990s.

Tensions peaked again on September 3 when South Ossetian forces fired on a helicopter carrying Georgia's defense minister.

(, Caucasus Press, Interfax)

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