Nine hurt in attack on Kosovo café

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The Independent Online

A grenade attack on a Serbian café in the divided Kosovo town of Mitrovica on Saturday, which injured nine people, has fuelled fears of a fresh wave of violence in the UN-run province, where nearly two million ethnic Albanians are pushing for independence from Serbia.

An ethnic Albanian teenager was arrested yesterday in connection with the attack, in which seven Serbs, along with a heavily pregnant Dutch woman and a British UN policeman, were wounded.

The Dolce Vita café is a favourite venue for Serbs and international staff in the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica. The southern part of the town, across a UN-guarded bridge over the Ibar river, is home to ethnic Albanians.

Kosovo's government strongly condemned the attack, appealing to its citizens to "keep calm and not to fall victim to provocations". Boris Tadic, Serbia's President called for a rapid response from the international administration in Kosovo to keep the peace in the turbulent area.

Mitrovica has been the scene of much ethnic violence since 1999, when the UN administration took over after years of direct rule from Belgrade. The worst outbreak of hostility was in March 2004, when 31 people were killed in clashes.

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