Kosovo police attacked with grenade and AK-47 by Serbian border

File photo. A Kosovo police vehicle was attacked with a grenade and AK-47 on Friday near the border with Serbia. Photo: Shutterstock, Nada B

Two Kosovo police cars were attacked on Friday (15 April) with a hand grenade and an AK-47 near the border checkpoint with Serbia in the north of the country.

Minister of the Interior Xhelal Svecla held a press conference shortly after the attack took place and referred to the incident as a “terrorist attack”.

“The attack with a hand grenade and AK-47 had been confirmed as a ‘terrorist act’ aimed at frightening police officials and Kosovo citizens,” Svecla stated, adding that their vehicles were shot at.

He added that the attack took place as the officers made their way to start their shift at around 7:40 am. The officers were unharmed.

This is the fourth attack on law enforcement in the Zubin Potok Serb-majority municipality in the last three days, Svecla said.

In addition to the attack on Friday, three other incidents occurred, including putting obstacles in the road to damage police vehicles as they passed, throwing rocks at officers, and gunshots being fired at personnel.

The minister accused Serbia of trying to destabilise Kosovo.

“Serbia’s aim at this point is not to attack Kosovo but to destabilise it. The general situation in Kosovo is stable,” he stated.

The attacks took place in a region that was previously used for smuggling until a Pristina-led operation shut down the route at the end of February.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after the end of the 1998-1999 Kosovo war. The conflict saw more than 13,500 Kosovo Albanians killed and between 1.2 million and 1.45 million displaced. Today, the whereabouts of 1,600 people are still not known, and Serbia has so far refused to divulge where their graves are.

Serbia refuses to recognise Kosovo’s independence, and since the war, the two countries have struggled to keep simmering tensions at bay.

Most recently, Kosovo has called for accelerated membership to the EU and NATO over fears Serbia and its ally Russia could endanger it and the region.

Svecla said they were aware of Serbia’s intensive armament in recent years and have been preparing accordingly.

“It’s clear that Serbia is continuing its old habit of getting armament from Belarus, China and Russia. Serbia is the only country in Europe not to impose sanctions on Russia concerning its invasion of Ukraine,” Svecla said.

[Edited by Benjamin Fox]

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