Kosovo Police Clash with Suspected Serbian Smugglers

Kosovo police clashed with suspected Serbian smugglers during raids on Wednesday over alleged smuggling of goods, which injured six police officers and one Serb civilian.

Kosovo police reported that ethnic Serbs enraged by anti-smuggling searches blocked highways north of Mitrovica and attacked officers. Officers responded with tear gas and stun grenades. 

Serbs threw stones and other objects at officers while blocking the main road with trucks.

Zlatan Elek, the head of a town hospital, claimed one ethnic Serb had serious bullet wounds and numerous others sustained minor injuries.

Interior Minister Xelal Svecla said the police operation was “not directed against any nationality.”

“Most of those arrested are Albanians; most of those wanted are Albanians,” Svecla told a news conference in Pristina.

Kosovo-Serbia relations are already tense following a recent border incident over vehicle license plates that threatened to devolve into bloodshed.

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