It was during the night of Sunday that a police patrol was ambushed by a road blockade outside the city of Banjska in northern Kosovo. One police officer died and another was injured when they were attacked with hand grenades, among other things. Then about 30 armed men besieged a monastery in the nearby village of Leposavic. At least four of the attackers died in gunfights with Kosovo police on Sunday. Since then, six people have been arrested and police are demanding that six more people be extradited from Serbia, where they are believed to have fled.

Described as terrorist attack

It is still unclear who is behind the attack, but Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti describes it as terrorism carried out by professionals supported by Belgrade:

"We condemn this criminal terrorist attack. Organised crime with political, economic and logistical support from Belgrade is attacking our state.

Serbia: The blame is Albin Kurtis

In a speech on Sunday evening, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic lamented the death of Kosovo police, while denying involvement. According to him, local Kosovo Serbs are behind the attack, who "do not want to suffer through Kurtis' terror anymore".

"He abandoned people, and at the same time continued to provoke them. I regret that some Serbs gave in to these provocations. Albin Kurti is the only one to blame.

Serious escalation

The incident marks the most serious escalation of violence in the region since 2011 and comes after a prolonged period of deteriorating relations. Around 90% of Kosovo Serb police officers in northern Kosovo resigned from their jobs last autumn in protest against the regime in Pristina. And last spring, unrest broke out after Pristina forcefully appointed newly elected mayors in municipalities where Kosovo Serbs boycotted the elections.

Around 30 members of the NATO peacekeeping force KFOR were injured in the violence that followed.