KFOR fires warning shots as Kosovo Albanians hurt in Serb riots

PRISTINA, Mar 5, 2000 -- (Reuters) Swedish peacekeeping troops fired warning shots Saturday to calm a Serbian riot that left five ethnic Albanians injured in the central Kosovo village of Gracanica, KFOR officials said.

Some 7O Serbs gathered at around midday (1100 GMT) in protest after a grenade was thrown at a Serbian house on the edge of the village just south of the provincial capital Pristina, said Mark Cox, a spokesman for the NATO-led peacekeeping force.

Nobody was hurt in the grenade attack early Saturday but Serbs started stoning ethnic Albanian cars passing through the village, prompting the KFOR troops to fire at least one warning shot.

One of the ethnic Albanians was seriously injured and admitted to a British military hospital, while the others were transported to Pristina hospital with minor injuries.

KFOR soldiers also closed checkpoints at either end of the village, home to the Serbian Orthodox monastery where Bishop Artemije, a leader of the Kosovar Serb community, is based.

The situation had calmed by 1:45 p.m. (1245 GMT), Cox said.

Gracanica was closed off last Sunday amid Serb protests at the killing of a Serbian policeman in southwest Serbia. The officer's parents live in Kosovar village, local police said.

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