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Ethnic Clashes Break Out In Kosovo

Pristina, 17 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Hospital personnel in Kosovo say five ethnic Albanians and Serbs were killed by gunfire and scores were wounded during ethnic clashes in Kosovska Mitrovica today.

The tension started to build after a Serbian teenager was wounded in a drive-by shooting on 15 March, and increased overnight after two ethnic Albanian children drowned in a river, reportedly after being chased by Serbs.

Today, NATO-led peacekeepers blocked a bridge separating Kosovska Mitrovica's Serbs and ethnic Albanians as crowds gathered on both sides. The troops fired tear gas and stun grenades to keep them apart, but heavy gunfire broke out.

The Associated Press and Agency France Press quoted hospital sources as saying two ethnic Albanians and three Serbs were shot to death.