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Macedonia: Police Kill Five Ethnic Albanian Fighters

Skopje, 7 August 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Five suspected ethnic Albanian fighters were killed in a police raid in the Macedonian capital Skopje today. Interior Minister Ljube Boskovski told our correspondent that the dawn raid took place in a Skopje suburb populated mainly by ethnic Albanians. Boskovski said among those killed was a rebel commander known as "Teli." Boskovski said the rebels were planning terrorist raids in Skopje.

The police operation comes just hours after talks with ethnic Albanian political parties on ending an ethnic insurgency suffered a setback yesterday after Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski demanded a timetable for rebel disarmament. The rebels have said they will only disarm after a peace deal is ratified. Talks are continuing today in Ohrid.

NATO is scheduled to supervise the disarmament. A NATO spokesman told our correspondent today that NATO could deploy some 3,500 troops to Macedonia without a formally ratified peace deal in place.

(For more on developments, please see the related story: Macedonia: New Demand Sets Back Peace Talks.)