MITROVICA, Kosovo — A French Gendarme was shot and wounded early Sunday during clashes between ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo's ethnically divided city of Mitrovica as European Union police fired tear gas to disperse the violent crowd, a European Union official said.
Karin Limdal, the spokeswoman for the 2,000-strong EU police mission said the policeman was shot in the leg and was out of danger. She said special police units were called in to support local forces in separating the two sides that pelted each other with stones at the foot of the bridge that splits the city into two halves. Machinegun fire and blasts were also reported.
The clashes — sparked after Turkey defeated Serbia in the semifinals of the basketball world championship — highlight the deep ethnic divide that runs between the two ethnic foes over a decade since the end of the Kosovo war in 1999. They come as the two sides brace for EU facilitated talks that were called upon in a U.N. resolution passed Thursday.
The clashes started when Albanians, in the southern part of the ethnically divided city "started celebrating Turkey's victory," police spokesman Besim Hoti told The Associated Press.