Kosovo man killed in Serb-run north

Published April 8, 2012 3:45PM (EDT)

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — An explosive device hidden at an apartment killed an ethnic Albanian man and wounded two of his children Sunday in an area of northern Kosovo that has long been a flashpoint of tension between Serbs and Albanians, police said.

Samuel Zbogar, the top European Union official in Kosovo, called for calm as EU and Kosovo police and NATO peacekeepers examined evidence at the dwelling in the town of Mitrovica in the Serb-dominated north.

Its citizens must "leave the matter in the hands of the police," Zbogar said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Plastic explosives hidden on the iron bars of a window in the ground-floor apartment exploded early Sunday, killing Selver Hajredinaj, said police spokesman Besim Hoti. Hajredinaj lived there with his wife and four children, and the blast also left two of his children with minor wounds.

Hoti said the investigation is needed to determine if the attack was ethnically motivated. But Kosovo authorities condemned the violence, calling it a terrorist attack.

Sporadic violence between minority ethnic Albanians and majority Serbs has occurred in northern Kosovo since the end of war in Kosovo in 1999, because Serbs reject Kosovo's claim of independence and want the territory to be part of Serbia.

Currently, Serbia plans to have voters choose mayors for local authorities, and Kosovo has vowed to stop those elections, saying they would undermine its 2008 claim of statehood.

(This version CORRECTS Adds comments from officials, background. Corrects name of victim. Adds byline.)

By Salon Staff

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