Kosovo Police Patrols Attacked Near Serbia Border

Damaged cars are pictured following clashes with ethnic Serbs during a police operation against the smuggling of goods, in Mitrovica, Kosovo, October 13, 2021. REUTERS/Laura Hasani/File Photo

Kosovo police said two of its patrol cars came under fire early on Friday in the country’s north near its border with Serbia, where ethnic tensions are still simmering more than two decades since a war between ethnic Albanians and Serb forces ended.

The police said its officers were ambushed and attacked with a hand grenade and an AK-47 assault rifle while traveling at one of the border crossings, but no one was injured. It said it was a fourth attack in the past three days.

A police official told Reuters the police was investigating whether the attack was related to smuggling activities in the region or was linked to tensions between Serbia and Kosovo.

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“Today’s attack with a hand grenade and AK-47 was a terrorist act and was done with the aim to intimidate police officers and all citizens of Kosovo,” Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla told a news conference, while showing photos of damaged armored police cars.

Kosovo’s north is home of some 50,000 Serbs, who backed by Belgrade want to break away along ethnic lines and unite with Serbia, and has experienced repeated violent flare-ups since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. The area also serves smugglers to transport goods between the two countries.

Over the past weeks, Kosovo police have closed many illegal roads used to get people and goods across from Serbia to Kosovo.

SOURCE: Reuters – Reporting by Fatos Bytyci Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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