Explosion injures 4 Serbs in western Kosovo

Published on September 19, 2006, International Herald Tribune

Category: Violence Against Christian Serbs and Their Holy Places

The Associated Press

PRISTINA, Serbia An explosion in western Kosovo injured four Serbs late Tuesday, the fourth bombing in the last five days, police said. The blast occurred outside a home in the small town of Kline, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of the capital, Pristina, police spokeswoman Sabrie Kamberi said. The four injured, of which three were women, belonged to the same family. They were taken to a hospital in the nearby town of Pec and their injuries were not considered life-threatening, Kamberi said. The elder of the four, a woman, was in more serious condition than the others. Police could not immediately provide more details on the explosive device. Some 50 Serb families live in Kline. Kosovo's Prime Minister Agim Ceku, back from a visit in neighboring Macedonia earlier Tuesday, and police senior officials headed toward the hospital in Pec to visit the injured. Three other bombings in the province since Friday only damaged cars, with no reports of injuries. Police say they have no evidence to link the blasts, though authorities have since increased security at public buildings and stepped up patrols. The blasts have raised tensions amid ongoing U.N.-led negotiations on whether Kosovo should become independent — which the province's ethnic Albanian leadership wants — or have broad autonomy but remain a part of Serb territory, as Belgrade insists. Martti Ahtisaari, the chief U.N. envoy for Kosovo, is due to brief the U.N. Security Council on Friday. The latest round of U.N.-brokered talks on Kosovo's future status ended in stalemate last week in Vienna, Austria. The United Nations has administered Kosovo since 1999, when NATO air strikes drove out Serb troops who had carried out a bloody crackdown on its independence-seeking Albanian population, which accounts for 90 percent of Kosovo's 2 million population. About 16,000 NATO-led peacekeepers still patrol the province. An estimated 200,000 Serbs fled Kosovo after the 1988-99 conflict, fearing revenge attacks. Today, only about 100,000 remain, most living in small, isolated enclaves scattered around the province.


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