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Yugoslavia: Serbs Say They Killed Seven Albanians In Kosovo

Prishtina, 27 July 1998 (RFE/RL) - Serb sources in Kosovo say seven armed Albanians were killed by Serb security forces this morning in the southwest of the troubled Serbian province. The sources said the Albanians were killed as they tried to flee from the village of Junik to the Albanian border ten kilometers away. Junik is among several villages reportedly surrounded by security forces in their ongoing campaign against ethnic Albanian separatists. There is no independent confirmation of the deaths.

Ethnic Albanian sources today confirmed a Serb TV report saying Serb forces had recaptured the strategic village of Lapusnik which lies between Kosovo's capital, Prishtina, and the western town of Pec. Serbian forces began a coordinated offensive over the weekend which appears aimed at clearing Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) fighters from main roads and cutting their reported supply lines from Albania.

Albanian Foreign Minister Paskal Milo today condemned the latest Serbian military operations in Kosovo as acts of genocide and massive repression. Milo told reporters in Tirana that Serbian actions were "ethnic cleansing operations." He also condemned the mining of areas along the Albanian-Yugoslav borders by Serbian forces as a violation of international law. He said his government had lodged a strong protest today with the Yugoslav charge d'affaires in Tirana in connection with a series of border incidents over the past two days, including one yesterday in which he said two Serbian artillery shells hit Albanian territory. He called the incidents "grave provocations."

Meanwhile, Swiss-based political representatives of the UCK claimed today that Swiss authorities had frozen a bank account used to channel funds to Kosovar Albanians.