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Three German Spies Await Release At Kosovo Airport

PRISTINA (Reuters) -- Three German spies initially suspected of planting a bomb at the EU office in Kosovo are set to fly home once a court has ruled on their case, two top government officials said on November 28.

In a case that has attracted wide attention because of its aura of cloak-and-dagger mystery, the three Germans were allowed to proceed under police escort to the airport so they could leave the Balkan country soon after a Kosovo judge reviewed the matter at 1500 GMT.

"The airplane has already landed at Pristina airport," a third official said, adding the plane was set to depart at 1930 GMT)

The three were held after an explosive charge was thrown on November 14 at the International Civilian Office which oversees Kosovo's governance, shaking the building and breaking windows but not injuring anyone.

A German lawmaker on November 27 confirmed earlier reports that the men worked for the German BND foreign intelligence service.

Earlier on November 28, German government spokesman Thomas Steg said the parliamentary committee overseeing intelligence operations had established the three were not involved in terrorist activities and should be released immediately.

"Immediately means not waiting days to release these three Germans," Steg told a regular news conference.

Steg said that contrary to some reports, the German government was not considering reducing its economic aid to Kosovo as a result of the incident.