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

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.