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6 KILLED IN POLICE OPERATION IN TETOVO AREA



National.

Police helicopters and ground forces clashed with black-clad gunmen in north-western Macedonia on Wednesday during a raid called "Operation Mountain Storm" against an alleged organised-crime gang in the same ethnic Albanian mountain villages in the Tetovo area.

The Police uncovered two more bodies and detained another six persons, which raises the total death toll to six and the number of captured to 12 after today's operation.

The largest ethnic Albanian political party, condemned the raid as an "attack on civilians". Witnesses in the villages said four houses were ablaze and a mosque was damaged in the fighting.

The operation left no casualties among the members of the police force or the civilian population, said earlier the Macedonian Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska.

Police said the target of the operation was a crime group headed by Lirim Jakupi, who escaped from Kosovo's prison several months ago. However, other armed groups dressed like fighters from the Macedonian and Kosovo wars have also appeared lately.

Armed men in black uniforms set up informal checkpoints on the mountain roads last week, residents said.

The criminals were first to open fire at the police officers, who then responded. Jankulovska declined to comment whether Jakupi or Shiti were among the killed or the arrested.

The Interior Minister denied the information that a helicopter was brought down in the course of the operation. She added that the Kosovo's authorities who were notified on the operation, pledged for support in intercepting the criminals if they were to cross over to Kosovo's territory.


MD: Well, let's hope no new 2001 will start over again which many are fearing, especially with Kosovo's status coming up.

[MakFax]

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February 27 2010:
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