At least three dead in skirmishes in South Ossetia

Georgia Materials 2 August 2008 01:34 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Three people were killed and at least seven injured in firefights in the Georgian separatist region of South Ossetia on Friday, officials said.

Georgian soldiers were shelling the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali and firing high-calibre weapons, Eduard Kokoity, leader of the separatist region told Russia's Interfax news agency.

He called for a "serious and painful" reaction against Georgia.

Georgia accused South Ossetia late Thursday of a terrorist attack that injured six Georgian police officers.

Last month, a spokesman for South Ossetia President Dmitry Medoyev accused Georgia of preparing to invade the territory, which declared its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, resulting in a bloody conflict that killed hundreds of people.

The pro-Western Georgian leadership has said it is determined to bring the breakaway region, along with the rebel region of Abkhazia, back under Tbilisi's control.