PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovo’s prime minister on Sunday mentioned one police officer was killed and one other wounded in an assault he blamed on help from neighboring Serbia, growing tensions between the 2 former struggle foes at a fragile second of their European Union-facilitated dialogue to normalize ties.
Prime Minister Albin Kurti mentioned “masked professionals armed with heavy weapons” opened fireplace on a police patrol within the village of Banjska, Leposavic, 55 kilometers (35 miles) north of the capital Pristina at 3 a.m. (01:00 GMT), killing one officer. One other officer was injured however his situation isn’t life-threatening.
Kosovo police mentioned two vehicles with no license plates had blocked a bridge on the entrance of the village. Three police models had been despatched to unblock it however got here underneath fireplace from totally different positions with totally different weapons, hand grenades and bombs.
Police managed to push again the assault and take two injured law enforcement officials on the hospital in southern Mitrovica.
One in all them was lifeless on arrival, docs mentioned.
The realm round Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo, is the place a lot of the nation’s ethnic Serb minority lives, in 4 municipalities.
Studies within the media in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo mentioned residents of the village of Banjska had been waken up by shootings and detonations in the midst of the night time till daybreak.
“It was an actual little struggle: first some gunfire, then silence, shootings, detonations,” Serbian Kossev information company quoted an unidentified resident as saying.
Serbian media mentioned each native roads and crossings with Serbia had been blocked.
“Organized crime, which is politically, financially and logistically supported from Belgrade, is attacking our state,” Kurti wrote on his Fb web page.
Kurti mentioned that gunfire towards police with totally different weapons was ongoing.
“The federal government of the Republic of Kosovo and its state establishments are prepared and coordinated to reply to crime and criminals, terror and terrorists,” he mentioned.
Kosovar President Vjosa Osmani, who’s in New York on the United Nations Basic Meeting, denounced the killing and the “assaults towards the Republic of Kosovo’s sovereignty.”
“Such assaults testify as soon as once more the destabilizing energy of the prison bands organized from Serbia which for a very long time .. are destabilizing Kosovo and the area,” she mentioned.
The USA’ ambassador in Pristina “strongly condemns the orchestrated, violent assaults on the Kosovo Police this morning” in a press release, including that “the Kosovo Police has full and legit accountability for implementing the rule of legislation in keeping with the structure and legal guidelines of Kosovo.”
“The perpetrators should and will probably be held accountable and dropped at justice. They need to instantly stop their assaults,” he mentioned.
Serbia’s parliamentary speaker Vladimir Orlic mentioned Kurti “was fast accountable the Serbs,” including that Kurti was the one who wished an “escalation” within the subject.
“He (Kurti) mentioned it was some form of organized motion by professionals,” Orlic instructed native Prva tv station. “They will need to have been recognized and he is aware of who they’re and what they’re, and all the things is evident.”
Earlier this month, an EU-facilitated dialogue assembly in Brussels between Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic led to acrimony.
Washington has absolutely supported the negotiations and the stance of the EU.
In February, the EU put ahead a 10-point plan to finish months of political crises. Kurti and Vucic gave their approval on the time, however with some reservations which have nonetheless not been resolved.
The EU warned each international locations that the commitments that Serbia and Kosovo made in February “are binding on them and play a task within the European path of the events,” which refers to their probabilities of becoming a member of the 27-nation bloc.
In Might tensions in northern Kosovo left 93 peacekeepers damage in riots.
Serbia and its former province, Kosovo, have been at odds for many years. Their 1998-99 struggle left greater than 10,000 individuals lifeless, principally Kosovo Albanians. Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008 however Belgrade has refused to acknowledge the transfer.