ROBERT H. REIDThree Serbs shot in Kosovo's US sector
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (July 12, 2000) - Unidentified attackers fired shots at a car on a rural road in Kosovo's American sector Wednesday, wounding three Serb men, the U.S. command said.
Yugoslav news agencies identified the wounded as a Serbian Orthodox priest and two seminary students.
Later, U.S. troops fired warning shots over a crowd of angry Serbs who gathered in the town of Klokot to protest the attack, a U.S. statement said. There were no injuries, and the crowd broke up.
The U.S. statement said the three men were traveling from Klokot to Vitina, about 30 miles south of Pristina when the attack occurred at midday.
U.N. civilian police found the wounded men along the road and took them to the U.S. military hospital at Camp Bondsteel where they were listed in stable condition pending surgery.
Yugoslavia's private news agency Beta and the state-run Tanjug agency identified the three as clerics.
The attack was the latest against Kosovo's dwindling Serb minority in wake of the June 1999 withdrawal of Yugoslav forces following the 78-day NATO bombing campaign. The alliance launched the airstrikes to stop Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's crackdown against ethnic Albanians.
Although the attackers were not identified, ethnic Albanian extremists have carried out numerous attacks against Serbs in the American sector over the past 13 months.
In another development, Serb villagers in two communities just across the provincial boundary from Kosovo reported a mortar fire early Wednesday and blamed ethnic Albanian extremists.
There were no injuries, the villagers said. The attack reportedly occurred near the Serbian villages of Merdare and nearby Borovac, 120 miles southeast of Belgrade.
"This is getting worse and worse," said Danijela Pavlovic, 35, who lives in Merdare. She said the fire came from Mirovac, an Albanian-populated village on the other side of the separation line.
"We'll all leave if this continues," she said, adding she had sent her teen-age son to stay with relatives in a town farther from the border.
Serbian police declined comment, but an officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the mortar attack shortly after midnight was preceded by sniper fire against a nearby police checkpoint.