Foreign embassies tell Kosovo government not to speculate after police attack

Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla spoke of an assault with a grenade and assault rifle on two Kosovo police cars transporting border police to their workplace at the checkpoint with Serbia on Friday.  He called it a terrorist attack. [Shutterstock/Nada B]

EU and US Embassies in Pristina have called on the Kosovo government to refrain from speculating on the origin of a firearm attack that targeted their police on the border with Serbia.

Interior Minister Xhelal Svecla spoke of an assault with a grenade and assault rifle on two Kosovo police cars transporting border police to their workplace at the checkpoint with Serbia on Friday.  He called it a terrorist attack.

“Our sources have identified yesterday’s attack as coming from Serbia,” Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Friday.

A few minutes later, the EU condemned the attack but warned the government against “unnecessary speculation”.

“We call on all to avoid unnecessary speculation that may add to further tensions, noting that the investigation of the case is to be conducted by relevant law enforcement agencies,” they stressed.

The US embassy also followed suit with a similar warning after condemning the attack. “We caution against speculation that would increase tensions and will condemn any efforts to impede this essential work.”

In October last year, criminal gangs involved in smuggling in the Serb-majority town of North Mitrovica attacked the Kosovo police with guns and grenades during an anti-smuggling operation, leaving six police officers injured and two cars burned out.

The Serbian government condemned the anti-smuggling operation as a provocation against Serbia. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic called on the international community to stop Kurti’s “deranged policy”.

Senior Serbian government official, Petar Petkovic, assured Kosovo Serbs that “Serbia and President Aleksandar Vucic are behind them.”

Following the latest attack, Kurti assured Kosovo that the police would continue the fight against crime in the entire territory.

“This will neither deter nor stop us from our fight to protect [the] the rule of law against organised crime & corruption in the entire territory of our Republic. I call on Serbia to condemn & distance itself from the violent terrorist attacks on our police, some of whom were Kosova Serbs,” the prime minister said.

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