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Yugoslavia: KFOR Says Seven Killed In Bus Attack

Podujevo, Yugoslavia, 16 February 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo says at least seven people were killed and ten others severely injured in a bomb attack on a bus full of Serbs today. The bus had been bound for the Serb enclave at Gracanica near Pristina. The explosion hit the bus shortly before midday, soon after it crossed into Kosovo after travelling from Nis in Serbia.

KFOR helicopters evacuated some of the wounded from the bombing site to a hospital in Serbia.

The commander of British peacekeepers, Brigadier Robert Fry, said the attackers detonated 50 to 100 kilos of explosives by remote control from a point nearly one kilometer away from the blast.

Fry said two Swedish armored personnel carriers had driven over the explosive charge before the attackers set it off when the bus moved over it.

Fry condemned the attack as "an act of ruthless, premeditated murder."

KFOR officials say the bus was part of a five-vehicle convoy that was accompanied by NATO peacekeepers in armored vehicles.

The KFOR statement says the explosion near Podujevo appears to have been triggered when the first vehicle in the convoy of buses drove over a trip wire shortly before midday.

It was the second attack on a Serb convoy this week.

The attack was the deadliest attack on Serbs in Kosovo since July 1999, when 13 Serb farmers were shot to death in fields south of Pristina.

Kosovo Serb leader Momcilo Trajkovic responded to today's attack by calling on the chief UN administrator for Kosovo, Hans Haekkerup, to take concrete steps to put an end to terrorist attacks.

Trajkovic urged Haekkerup, in his words "to punish Albanian leaders who support violence aimed against members of minority communities."