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NATO soldiers, Serbs injured in Kosovo clashes

(Xinhua)

15:49, November 29, 2011

PRISTINA, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Two NATO soldiers and several Kosovo Serbs were injured on Monday in clashes at the Jagnjenica road barricade between northern Mitrovica and Zubin Potok.

Authorities of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) said the two injured soldiers, one of them a senior officer, belong to the German contingent.

"Battalion commander was shot, and another soldier is also injured," said KFOR spokesman Uwe Nowicki. They were sent to the American military base Bondstill in eastern Kosovo for medical treatment.

Clashes started in the morning following KFOR's operation to remove buses, lorries and other vehicles from the barricade in Jagnjenica. Serb protesters reacted in an attempt to stop the KFOR action, a response that resulted in clashes and exchange of fire arms.

KFOR troops used tear gas, shock bombs and rubber bullets to disperse Serbs, causing injuries to tens of them. More than 30 people reportedly needed treatment.

KFOR officials talked with local Serbian leaders on the situation. But after a calm midday, trouble occurred again in the evening, as Serbs tried to set up a new barricade some 500 meters away from the one removed by KFOR in the morning.

Trouble in northern Kosovo started in July, when Kosovo authorities tried to deploy police and custom officers in two northern crossings to implement embargo for Serbian products as a measure of reciprocity.

Serbian-dominated north reacted to this by establishing road barricades. KFOR took control of the crossings but has not yet managed to convince Serbs to remove the road barricades.

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