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Two British "tourists" shot at in Kosovo

Thursday, June 15, 2006 12:54 PM

PRISTINA, Serbia-Two British tourists were shot at Thursday in western Kosovo, officials said. No one was injured.

The shooting occurred near the western village of Babaloc, an ethnic Albanian area, some 90 kilometers (55 miles) from the province's capital, Pristina, Kosovo police spokesman Veton Elshani said.

The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately clear. Security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the incident, said the tourists' vehicle bore registration plates from Serbia's capital, Belgrade.

A statement by the British mission in Kosovo said that the British nationals were "victims of a shooting incident in western Kosovo" and both escaped unharmed, but their car was damaged.

David Blunt, the top British diplomat in Kosovo, condemned the attack and called on witnesses to inform the police.

"I strongly condemn this attack on two innocent British tourists," Blunt said. "We must bring to justice people who, with such acts of violence, threaten Kosovo's future as a tolerant, modern European society."

Kosovo, a province of Serbia, has been administered by the United Nations since 1999, when a NATO bombing campaign forced Serb forces to relinquish control.

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority want the province to become independent, while the Serbian minority wants it to remain within Serbia.

Separately, a device believed to be a hand grenade was thrown at two vehicles belonging to the province's U.N.-run customs service in northern Kosovo. The explosion damaged the vehicles, which were not occupied, U.N. police spokesman Larry Miller said.

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