Deputy PM visits injured Serb children in hospital

BELGRADE, VIENNA, PRIŠTINA -- Aleksandar Vučić has called on the international community to urgently find those responsible for a hand grenade attack on the Vučetić family home in Kosovo.

The injured boy is seen in Kosovska Mitrovica late on Monday (Tanjug)
The injured boy is seen in Kosovska Mitrovica late on Monday (Tanjug)

The incident on Monday in Kosovska Mitrovica left two children, aged three and nine, injured.

Serbia's first deputy prime minister and defense minister and Director of the Government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija Aleksandar Vulin late on Tuesday the children who had been transferred to a hospital in Belgrade.

"We urge the international community and their bodies to find those who hurled a bomb at the Serb family house, and thus inflicted severe injuries to Milica and Borivoje," Vučić said.

He said that the state of Serbia would take all necessary measures, in line with the law, to find a perpetrator, underscoring that "it does not matter whether that had been an Albanian or a Serb, but it is important that light be shed on this grave crime".

Neurosurgeon Miljan Mihajlović said that the children are now in a stable condition, but there is a risk that it might complicate further.

The boy was injured more severely by two pieces of shrapnel. He lost much blood, so he may need a transfusion in the coming period, Mihajlović said.

He explained that the boy's condition could deteriorate as he might have breathing difficulties due to hematoma in the area of the neck.

A piece of shrapnel hit the girl in the ear. Fortunately, she suffered no serious injuries, but only after a complete analysis, it would be known whether she would need a surgery, the doctor said.

The children were wounded when an unknown assailant threw an explosive device on their parents' house in northern Kosovska Mitrovica, in the Bošnjačka Mahala neighborhood, which is populated by both Serbs and ethnic Albanians.

Kosovo police, KPS, on Tuesday arrested a Serb man, their neighbor, saying he had in his possession a hand grenade - an M75 - that was "similar" to the one used in the attack. The man was released from custody on Wednesday, and is facing charges of illegal weapons possession.

OSCE condemns grenade attack

The Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, Ambassador Jean-Claude Schlumberger, on Tuesday strongly condemned an incident in northern Kosovska Mitrovica involving an assailant throwing a hand grenade at a house, injuring two children.

“A series of troubling security incidents have affected people living in northern Kosovo over the past few days. This latest act resulted in the injury of a three-year-old boy and nine-year-old girl, which is completely unacceptable,” said Schlumberger, in Vienna for his regular report to the OSCE Permanent Council.

“I strongly condemn the attack and call on the law enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into this and recent acts of violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The OSCE Mission in Kosovo is mandated with human and community rights protection and promotion, democratization and public safety sector development.

UNMIK head shocked at incident

Head of the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, Farid Zarif stated Tuesday that he was deeply and personally shocked at the news of Monday's bomb attack in Kosovska Mitrovica, which left two children wounded.

This is a cowardly act, unacceptable in every civilized society, Zarif said in an UNMIK's statement.

He pointed out that this attack came a day after two explosions in northern Kosovo, and after several serious incidents during the past several weeks, the statement reads.

The UNMIK head welcomed the investigation launched by the Kosovo police and EULEX, and called on everyone who has some useful information to cooperate.

"This is everyone's responsibility and duty. Such violence has to stop immediately," Zarif stressed.

Priština government condemns incident

The Kosovo government in Prištona on Tuesday condemned the latest incidents in northern Kosovo and called on the citizens to remain calm.

In a statement, the government also called on them "not to collaborate with those groups attempting to raise tensions in this part of the territory of Kosovo".

The Priština authorities also asked "forces of law and order to engage themselves greatly and in a dedicated manner, to preserve order and peace, and find the perpetrators of these incidents as soon as possible".