Car bomb in South Ossetia capital

Russian commander says explosion in Tskhinvali has killed seven peacekeepers.

    Russian peacekeepers near the scene of the explosion in Tskhinvali [AFP]

    He said that the peacekeepers, who are deployed in the breakaway region and a swathe of Georgian territory outside it, had detained two cars in the Georgian village of Ditsa.

    Kulakhmetov said: "There were four people, apparently ethnic Georgians, in the car. Light firearms and two grenades were also found.

    "The cars and the detained people were escorted to Tskhinvali. During the search of one of the cars, an explosive device equivalent to some 20kg went off."

    The breakaway region's press department said the blast had damaged the headquarters and broken the windows of neighbouring buildings.

    Thick black smoke plumed into the air after the explosion as police cars and ambulances rushed to the scene.

    'Ominous development'

    Eduard Kokoity, South Ossetia's leader, was quick to blame Georgian security services for the blast, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency said.

    A Russian foreign ministry source, also seemingly pointing the finger at Georgia, layed the blame on unspecified forces "seeking to destabilise the situation".

    Matthew Collin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, said: "This is highly unusual ... and quite an ominous development."

    Collin said that Georgian officials had told him that the explosion could only have been organised by Russian special services.

    Russia has deployed peacekeepers at the base since the early 1990s.

    Moscow says confiscating illegal weapons and explosives are part of the work carried out by its troops.

    European Union monitors are currently in a Russian-controlled buffer zone around South Ossetia to begin a peacekeeping operation there.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    Learn what India's parties' symbols mean by drawing them

    More than 2,300 political parties have registered for the largest electoral exercise in the world.

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.