ISSN 2330-717X

Attack On North Kosovo Albanians Raises Tensions

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By Fatmir Aliu

Authorities in Pristina have condemned as terrorism a bomb attack on the home of an Albanian family living in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo that left the father dead.

Kosovo Police said that the attack, which left 38-year-old Selver Haredinaj dead, happened shortly after midnight on Sunday in the mixed neighbourhood of Mitrovica, known as the “Three Skyscrapers”.

“The explosive device, suspected of being plastic explosive, was placed under the window of the apartment of the Haradinaj family. The victim S.H. succumb to his injuries and died on the spot while his other family members, the wife and four children, were transported to the hospital in Mitrovica,” Kosovo Police said on Sunday morning.

Northern Kosovo, which borders Serbia, has long been prone to bursts of violence. Its population, which is almost entirely comprised of Serbs, does not recognise Kosovo’s independence or the government in Pristina.

While officially a part of Kosovo, the region has been under the de-facto control of so-called parallel institutions funded by Belgrade. These parallel institutions include town councils, health authorities, post offices and schools.

Kosovo’s government condemned the attack on the Haredinaj family.

“We express our fury about this act, which was criminal and terrorist, and we are engaged in shedding light on the case and catching the perpetrators, and bringing them to justice,” a press release issued by the government said.

Kosovo Police spokesperson for the north, Besim Hoti, said there are no suspects or arrests related to this case to date and did not rule out that the crime could be “ethnically motivated”.

Tensions in northern Kosovo have risen lately since Serbia announced it plans to extends its presidential, parliamentary and local elections in May to Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. But Serbia does not recognise the new country.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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