Alexa

Kosovo police detain man suspected in shootout at prime minister's home

Kosovo police detain man suspected in shootout at prime minister's home

Kosovo police on Saturday arrested a man suspected of opening fire on security guards outside Prime Minister Hashim Thaci's home during a botched burglary, officials said Saturday.
The 19-year-old suspect was known to authorities in connection with a previous theft, police spokesman Veton Elshani said, but it was not immediately clear if he had a prior criminal record.
Authorities said they tracked down the suspect in the capital, Pristina, following a tip from his father.
The suspect had a wound to his arm, leading police to believe he was shot in an exchange of fire with Thaci's security guards during the attack late Friday, Elshani said.
Police said the teenager told investigators he did not know he was breaking into the prime minister's house and that "he wanted just to steal something."
Thaci was away during the attempted break-in. His wife and son were in the house, but were not hurt, police said.
Thaci condemned the assault as an attack upon his family and urged Kosovo's citizens to remain calm.
"Last night, my family was attacked," Thaci told reporters in the capital, Pristina. "Like any parent and husband I am happy that my family is safe."
"No one will have the power to threaten independence, democratic order, rule of law, the freedom and security of the citizen of the Republic of Kosovo," Thaci said.
Police said Thaci's security guards spotted one person trying to break into the two-story house from the balcony of the top floor. They exchanged fire with an unknown number of assailants, who did not manage to get into the house. The attackers escaped but at least one was believed to be injured as traces of blood were found.
Thaci, the former political head of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian rebels, the Kosovo Liberation Army, is regarded as the key figure in pushing for Kosovo's independence from Serbia. Kosovo declared independence on Feb. 17 following close coordination with Western capitals. The declaration is fiercely opposed by Serbia.
Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuqi said Thaci had been away on a private visit at the time of the attack. He said authorities have increased security measures for government officials.
Kuqi called the attack "a criminal act" and said, "it goes beyond any political hatred."
Police began a search and tightened security at Kosovo's border crossings to prevent the suspects from fleeing, a police official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the operation.
The attackers were believed to have dragged the injured assailant to a car and sped off, the official said.
Thaci's home is in a suburb of Kosovo's capital, Pristina, that is the site of most embassies and diplomatic residences.
Relations between ethnic Albanian political parties in Kosovo have been marked by tensions and bitter rivalry. Thaci heads an uneasy coalition government forged with the party of late pacifist President Ibrahim Rugova, once his main rival.
He is also at odds with former rebel commander Ramush Haradinaj who was recently acquitted by the U.N. tribunal of war crimes charges and has returned to Kosovo to lead his party, now in opposition.
Haradinaj's Alliance for the Future of Kosovo condemned the attack and urged authorities to find the perpetrators.
"Such criminal acts damage the positive image of the state of Kosovo," the party said in a statement sent to the AP.
Kuqi refused to be drawn into commenting on who was behind the attack and called upon authorities to conduct a swift investigation.
"We don't want to believe that this is due to political hatred," Kuqi said. "We trust the authorities and they will have their say."


Updated : 2020-12-02 11:52 GMT+08:00