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At least 2 U.N. officers killed in Kosovo shooting

/ Source: The Associated Press

A shootout at a prison in northern Kosovo killed at least two international police officers Saturday, a U.N. spokesman said. A doctor said one of the dead was an American policewoman and that at least five other people — including Americans — had been wounded.

Serb and international sources in the city told The Associated Press that the U.N. police officers started shooting at each other and that the shootout lasted for about 10 minutes.

The report that the police were attacking each other could not be immediately confirmed, but the United Nations confirmed there had been gunfire.

“There has been a shooting incident ... this afternoon,” said Neeraj Singh, the spokesman for the U.N. police. “The incident involved international police officers.”

Singh confirmed the deaths of two officers but would not disclose their nationalities.

Milan Ivanovic, a doctor in the hospital in the Serb-held part of Kosovska Mitrovica, told The Associated Press that an American policewoman died of her injuries.

“Their wounds are predominantly in the chest and abdomen,” Ivanovic said. “They were caused by firearms and possibly explosive devices.”

He said five other police were wounded and that some of them were Americans.

It was not immediately clear what caused the shootout in the prison in tense Kosovska Mitrovica, which was the scene of ethnic violence between Serbs and ethnic Albanians a month ago.

Kosovska Mitrovica has long been a flashpoint for troubles between ethnic Albanians on the southern side of the Ibar River and Serbs, who live in the northern part of the city. The city is 25 miles from the capital, Pristina.

Kosovo became a U.N. protectorate in 1999, after NATO launched a 78-day air war to stop former President Slobodan Milosevic from attacking ethnic Albanians seeking independence.