NATO peacekeepers under fire in Kosovo

KFOR soldiers stand guard at Jarinje border crossing between Serbia and Kosovo, July 29, 2011

From Nebi Qena, the AP:  American and French peacekeepers were told Thursday to fire their weapons in defense if attacked at border posts on Kosovo’s northern boundary with Serbia, a day after the crossings were set ablaze by Serbs armed with firebombs, a NATO spokesman said.

There have been days of mounting tension between ethnic Albanians and minority Serbs after Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci ordered special police units to take over two disputed border posts that were previously manned by Serb members of the police under EU supervision. One Kosovo policeman died in the operation.

"We are in command of those places," NATO spokesman Capt. Hans Wichter said. "If we are threatened, we have the right to use weapons." He said the area was "declared a military zone," meaning the alliance makes all decisions related to security.

NATO troops were attacked late Wednesday by machine guns and anti-tank rockets as they moved to secure the border posts, the top NATO commander in Kosovo, Maj. Gen. Erhard Buehler, said. No injures were reported. They took control of the border posts Thursday. (photo: Getty)

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