About 25 injured among the international force during clashes in the north of the country

About 25 members of the NATO-led force (Kfor) were injured on Monday during clashes in northern Kosovo, where Serb demonstrators are demanding the withdrawal of Albanian mayors, Kfor said in a statement.

Several soldiers from the Italian and Hungarian contingents of KFOR “were the targets of unprovoked attacks and suffered traumatic injuries with broken bones and burns from the explosion of incendiary devices” by “containing the most active fringes of the crowd,” the multinational force said in a statement, attacks described as “unacceptable” by the Atlantic Alliance in Brussels.

Municipal elections at the heart of the conflict

In Zvecan, “the demonstrators, resorting to violence and using tear gas, tried to cross the security cordons and break into the premises of the municipality”, says the local police in a press release.

The Serbs, whose political representatives left local institutions in northern Kosovo in November, boycotted the municipal elections organized by the Kosovar government in April to put an end to this institutional vacuum.

Incidents had already occurred in this region on Friday when ethnic Albanian mayors went to take office accompanied by the police.

Condemnations of NATO and Italy

NATO “firmly” condemned on Monday “unacceptable” attacks against KFOR troops which caused “injuries”. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also expressed her “strongest condemnation”, “absolutely unacceptable and irresponsible”.

“We will not tolerate further attacks against KFOR. It is fundamental to avoid further unilateral actions by the Kosovar authorities and that all parties take an immediate step back to reduce tensions,” she added in a statement. Eleven Italian soldiers were injured, including “three are in serious condition,” Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said in a tweet.

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