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News 05 Feb 13

Blast in Northern Kosovo Injures Youngsters

Tensions are high in northern Kosovo after three blasts rocked the area in the last two days, the latter injuring two young Serbs.

Donjete Hoxha Pristina

Kosovo Police said two Serbs under the age of ten were injured after a blast hit the so-called Bosnian quarter of the Serb-run northern part of the town of Mitrovica on Monday.

A Serb detained over blast

Kosovo police have detained Srdjan Stojanovic, a local Serb, after they found a hand granade during a search of his house.

Stojanovic lives in the ground floor of the house where the explosion occurred.

Both children were in a critical condition and were hospitalized in Mitrovica around 7pm local time.

On Tuesday morning, doctors in Mitrovica said that both children were in a stable condition and did not need surgery.

"They suffered shrapnel injuries to their heads and necks and are out of danger for now," doctors told reporters.

The motive for the attack remains unclear.

Investigators are examining the circumstances of the explosion, which it is suspected was caused by a hand grenade.

It is also suspected that hand grenades were to blame for two other explosions on Sunday, in Leposavic and in the “Three Skyscrapers” are of northern Mitrovica.

A house belonging to a Serb and three private vehicles were damaged on Sunday but no one was injured.

Avni Kastrati, head of the southern, Albanian-run part of the Mitrovica municipality, blamed “illegal Serbian structures which continue to create incidents” for the series of attacks. “Continued blasts in the north are causing a grave situation,” he said.

The northern Serb-run part of Kosovo is under the de facto control of so-called parallel institutions funded by the Serbian government.

The region has seen frequent confrontations between Albanians, the majority in Kosovo, and the Serbian minority in the north, which refuses all contact with the authorities in Pristina.

Serbian officials have strongly condemned the incidents.

Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said that the international peacekeepers had an obligation to guarantee the security of everyone.

"This, and similar attacks are jeopardizing peace in Kosovo and Metohija, to which Serbia is utterly dedicated, and international forces should contribute so that this peace is maintained... for all who live in Kosovo and Metohija," Dacic said on Tuesday.

Aleksandar Vulin, Director of Serbian Government Office for Kosovo Office, said he had asked international representatives in Kosovo to conbemn and find the perpetrators:

"How can you not condemn an act of violence that targeted a three-year-boy and his nine-year-old sister?" Vulin asked on Tuesday.

In a press release, the Kosovo government on Tuesday condemned the latest incidents calling all citizens to remain calm and exercise caution. The Kosovo government also warned people not to cooperate “with groups that stir tension in that part of the country” and urged institutions "to bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible”.

 

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