Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Explosion Destroys 3 UN Vehicles & 1 Civilian Vehicle

An explosion around 2145 hrs CET last night rocked a residential area behind the National Theatre.  The explosion took place along the road that runs up to Germia park on one of the side streets near the old mosque.  Three UN vehicles and one civilian vehicle were destroyed in the blast while windows in nearby shops were blown out.  Fortunately there were no injuries reported.  Police and KFOR have not yet finished the investigation but it is thought that a device with up to 1kg of explosives was set underneath one of the UN vehicles and detonated.  The KPS spokesperson, Veton Elshani, said that it appeared that the UN Mission in Kosovo was the target of the attack.  Kosovo PM Agim Ceku is reported to have arrived on the scene shortly after the explosion and condemned it as a "criminal act".
There was also a report in Ferizaj that two doors of an Albanian man's house were booby-trapped with hand grenades.  KFOR removed the devices for later destruction.  In Mitrovica, a hand grenade was rigged to a excavator that was parked near a gas station.  The device was designed to go off when the machine moved but was found beforehand.

Meanwhile, over the weekend there were two explosions.  One in Pristina near Hotel Baci, located on the outskirt of the bullring, and the other in an international police officer's accommodation in Zubin Potok.  The explosion in Zubin Potok was rumored to not be an explosive device but some sort of firework.  Not much has been reported about the explosion in Pristina other than the vehicle of a KPS officer may have been the target.

The new rounds of status negotiations are supposed to kick off tomorrow in Vienna.  One senior Albanian negotiator has warned of a "new Balkan war" if self-rule is denied.  This and with the Serbian delegation diametrically opposed to independence does not set a very good course for the conclusion of the talks.  The Serbian parliament has overwhelmingly rejected the proposal from special envoy Ahtisaari.