Tensions soar in Serbia ahead of expected Kosovo independence declaration

February 8, 2008 16:40

An explosion shook a shopping mall in Serbia on Friday and another mall was evacuated as tensions soared before an expected declaration of independence by the Serbian province of Kosovo. The explosions took place a day after right-wing protesters, chanting the names of Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitives whom they consider heroes, disrupted an exhibition by Kosovo Albanian artists. Nationalists are angry that Kosovo - Serbia's cherished medieval heartland now dominated by independence-seeking ethnic Albanians - will secede within days. Serbian Minister for Kosovo Slobodan Samardzic said Friday that the declaration likely will be made February 17. He did not give the source of his information. Kosovo Albanian leaders have said statehood will come in "a matter of days."

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