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Terrorism & Security

Three Germans detained related to attack on EU office in Kosovo

The detainment of the men may distract from Kosovars who do not want a UN peacekeeping mission replaced, a security expert says.

By Jonathan Adams / November 24, 2008



The detention of three Germans in connection with a recent bomb attack on a European Union office in Pristina, Kosovo, has highlighted tensions over a plan to replace a nine-year UN presence with an EU mission.

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On Saturday, a judge ordered the three suspects held for one month while prosecutors gather evidence for terrorism charges. The three are accused of carrying out a Nov. 14 dynamite attack that shattered glass windows at the EU office, but harmed no one.

The plot thickened in recent days, with some reports claiming that the three men are German spies and one observer saying the men were investigating organized crime ties to local officials, who may have wanted them out of the picture. .

Citing court documents, the Associated Press reported that the Kosovo prosecutors believe the Germans "intended to disrupt the bloc's efforts to deploy its new police mission."

Prosecutor Feti Tunuzliu alleged that the three suspects wanted to "hamper and hinder" the mission, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press. Tunuzliu wrote that one of the suspects threw 300 grams (0.6 pounds) of dynamite at the EU offices from a building across the street Nov. 14 as the two others kept watch.

But the BBC reported that the three detained men insist they were themselves investigating the blast site.

German and Kosovo media report that the men are German intelligence agents but officials in Berlin refuse to comment.
Lawyers for the detainees say the prosecution is seeking terrorism charges that carry a maximum 20-year sentence....
The German weekly Der Spiegel said the men worked for the German intelligence agency BND, and that they told investigators they had been examining the scene of the explosion, but had not been involved in it.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February, and has been recognized by more than 50 countries, including the US and Germany. But Serbia refuses to recognize the breakaway nation.

The blast and subsequent arrests come amid a dispute over a plan to deploy an EU police and justice mission to replace UN peacekeepers.

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