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Kosovo says policeman killed in attack blamed on Serbia

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One policeman was killed and another injured in an attack in northern Kosovo Sunday morning, which Kosovo’s leaders blamed on Serbia.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti said the officers were targeted in a shooting early Sunday in the village of Banjska. “The attackers are professionals wearing masks and heavily armed,” he said in a Facebook statement.

Kurti and Kosovo’s President Vjosa Osmani described the shooting as a terrorist attack, and blamed neighboring Serbia for seeking to destabilize their country.

“Organized crime, which is politically, financially and logistically supported from Belgrade, is attacking our state,” Kurti said.

Kosovo police said that two trucks without license plates had blocked off the bridge leading to the village in the early hours of Sunday. Upon arrival, police units had been targeted with an “arsenal of firearms,” including hand grenades, it said.

Reuters reported that NATO troops, the EU police force EULEX and Kosovo police were patrolling the road to Banjska.

Kosovo and Serbia have long been at odds over the rights of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo’s north. Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Serbia doesn’t recognize that.

Tensions have increased following elections earlier this year in four Serb-majority municipalities, which were effectively boycotted by Kosovo Serbs. Violent clashes erupted following the installation of ethnic Albanian mayors. Brussels has been critical of the way Kosovo handled the elections.

Earlier this month, Osmani told POLITICO’s EU Confidential podcast that Kosovo is ready to hold new elections.

But, she added, “The problem remains that the Serb community that lives in the north, which is just one-third of the Serbs that actually live in Kosovo, have been effectively intimidated by people who are paid, supported, and incited by President Vučić of Serbia.”

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