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"Thousands" dead in South Ossetia fighting

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"Thousands" dead in South Ossetia fighting

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The civilian death toll continues to mount as fighting escalates between Georgia and Russia over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia. Georgian officials said 60 people had died in the town of Gori when Russian planes attacking a nearby military base hit two apartment buildings.

The Georgians said Russian bombers were widening an offensive to force back Georgian troops, including bombing the major pipeline that runs through the country carrying oil to the West from Asia, although it was not damaged.

Russia’s ambassador to Georgia said that at least 2,000 civilians have died in South Ossetia’s provincial capital, Tskhinvali. Russian and South Ossetian separatist forces said they have “liberated” the city, but Georgia insisted Tskhinvali is under its “complete control”. What is certain is that it has been badly damaged by air and artillery bombardments and fighting between Russian and Georgian forces.