2 NATO peacekeepers wounded in Kosovo

Kosovo Serbs clash with NATO peacekeepers removing a roadblock near the village of Jagnjenica, November 28, 2011

From Zvezdan Djukanovic, the AP:  A German NATO officer and a soldier were shot and wounded in a clash with Serb protesters in northern Kosovo on Monday after the military alliance’s troops used heavy machinery to remove trucks and buses blocking a main road in the tense region, an official said.

The shooting near the town of Zubin Potok, some 60 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Pristina come after months of tensions, following a decision by Kosovo’s authorities to extend their authority in the areas under de-facto Serb rule.

For months Serbs have used soil, rock and concrete barriers to block any such moves. NATO has threatened to remove them because it cut off land supply to a military base in the north.

German and Austrian peacekeepers involved in the Monday operation fired rubber bullets and tear gas and used water canons and pepper spray to disperse the crowd of Serb protesters trying to stop the soldiers from removing the roadblock.

"The commander of the battalion was shot and another soldier was also wounded," said NATO spokesman, Lt. Col. Uwe Nowitzky. . . .

NATO said its soldiers are now under instructions to fire live ammunition if they come under attack.

On Tuesday more than 20 Portuguese and Hungarian soldiers were injured in a similar operation, one of them seriously.  (photo: AP)

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