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Diplomats Condemn Rocket Attack on Serb Orthodox Monastery in Kosovo

ICC Note: This latest attack reveals how precarious a position the minority Christian community in Kosovo is living in, and is a call to the diplomats negotiating the area’s future to remember to protect religious freedom.

4/1/07 Kosovo , Serbia (Associated Press) – Foreign diplomats have condemned a rocket attack against one of the most revered Serb Orthodox monasteries in Kosovo.

“All such violence against the Serb community or the Serbian Orthodox church in Kosovo is absolutely impermissible and intolerable,” the diplomats from the so-called Contact Group on Kosovo said late Saturday.

The group is comprised of the United States , Britain , Germany , France , Italy and Russia .

NATO peacekeepers and police found a grenade launcher on the hillside overlooking the Decane monastery, and a rocket engine was discovered lodged in the outer wall of the building, following reports of a blast near the 14th-century site Friday, a U.N. statement said.

The anti-tank weapon damaged a part of the roof of the wall around the monastery in western Kosovo, NATO said, adding that security measures were increased following the attack.

“The full security of the Serb community in Kosovo is of the utmost importance, and any incidents of violence must be addressed promptly and resolutely by Kosovo authorities and the international community,” the diplomats said in a statement.

UNESCO designated the monastery as a World Heritage site in 2004, and the site is protected by NATO peacekeepers.

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The Decane monastery compound has been attacked in the past, but it was spared the worst outbreak of violence in the aftermath of the 1998-99 war when ethnic Albanian mobs targeted the Serb minority and damaged or destroyed some 30 churches…[Go To Full Story]