Prime Minister Albin Kurti has promised Kosovo will show zero tolerance for Serbia’s illegal structures in the north of the country, following what the government called “terrorist attacks” against the police last week.
Five attacks against the Kosovo police were reported last week, including an assault with automatic guns, with a grenade, spiked metal devices damaging police car tires, and rocks thrown at police officers.
“It’s the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kosovo Police who analyze and study the causes and circumstances of these attacks on our police officers. We have strongly condemned the attack, which was a terrorist attack because the police officers were shot with bullets and grenades, and they were lucky to have only they cars damaged,” Kurti stated in Prishtina on Monday.
Following government accusations based on preliminary findings, the embassies of the European Union and United States condemned the attacks, but fearing ethnic tensions they asked Kosovo to refrain from blaming Serbia before a conclusive investigation takes place. However, Kurti still maintains these were terrorist attacks carried out by organized crime in the country’s north, and backed by Serbia and its illegal structures in Kosovo.
“There will be zero tolerance toward Serbia’s illegal structures and organized crime by the government, state, ministry of interior and Kosovo police,” Kurti stated, adding that the police were targeted to be killed.
In October last year, criminal gangs dealing with smuggling in 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 down.
The Serbian government condemned the anti-smuggling operation as a provocation against Serbia. Prime Minister Ana Brnabic called on the international community to stop Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s “deranged policy”.
Petar Petkovic, a senior Serbian government official, assured Kosovo Serbs that “Serbia and President Aleksandar Vucic are behind them.”
Kosovo’s Minister of Interior Xhelal Svecla said the latest attacks against the police aim at destabilizing the country.
They come a few days before a meeting in Brussels aimed at finding a solution on license plates, after last year Kosovo imposed reciprocity measures with Serbia, prompting military threats by the latter.