8 wounded in clash between Georgian, local forces in South Ossetia

A battle between Georgian troops and forces from the breakaway province of South Ossetia left eight people wounded, officials said Sunday. Among those who came under fire were observers with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported. Their car was struck but no one was hurt, it said. Both sides accused the other of opening fire first. A spokeswoman for South Ossetia's government said Georgian forces fired mortars in the province's main city, Tskhinvali, early Saturday. South Ossetian forces then fired back, spokeswoman Irina Gagloyeva said. But a spokesman for Georgia's Interior Ministry said the South Ossetians fired first on three Georgian settlements. Georgian forces "were forced" to respond with mortar fire, spokesman Shota Utiashvili said.