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21 NATO soldiers injured in northern Kosovo conflict

(Xinhua)

08:35, November 25, 2011

PRISTINA, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- NATO troops in Kosovo (KFOR) stated Thursday that violence over the control of the barricades near the northern Kosovo town of Zvecan on Wednesday midnight had left 21 soldiers injured.

Two of the soldiers were injured seriously, said KFOR spokesman Uwe Nowicki.

"The (Serb) demonstrators used force including throwing stones and pushing back KFOR-troops by trucks loaded with gravel," said KFOR in a press release.

According to the release, KFOR troops were forced to fire warning shots into the air, and used teargas and batons against the protestors following the trucks.

Some Serbian protestors were also injured, and some of them needed medical treatment.

KFOR claimed it decided to stop the operation to prevent the possibility of further escalating the confrontation and not to risk serious casualties on both sides. After KFOR's withdrawal, Serb protesters enforced the barricade by throwing more gravel.

Head of Zvecan municipality, Dragisa Milovic on Thursday blamed KFOR for violating the agreement reached with northern Kosovo Serbs.

Local Serbs set up barricades throughout northern Kosovo since late July this year, angry over Pristina's attempt to take control of two northern border crossing points with Serbia. They also fiercely oppose Pristina's authorities and the unilateral independence declared in February 2008.

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