UNESCO world heritage site targeted by extremists again

Decani Monastery area hit by a mortar-grenade, no injuries or damage

Bishop Teodosije said for KIM info-service that this is obviously one more mortar attack on the Monastery. The attackers probably wanted to intimidate us and send a threatening message both to the monks and NATO peacekeepers in this critical political moment for Kosovo firing only one grenade. It is well known that this area is full of well armed extremist paramilitary groups. Some of them threatened the monastery before. It is early now to speak more about this attack and we expect KFOR to come out with an official statement and perform a thorough investigation in order to identify the perpetrators of this terrorist attack on Visoki Decani Monastery. Thank God, no one is hurt, said the Bishop.

This morning (March 30 2007) at 01.10 a.m. the immediate vicinity of Visoki Decani Serbian Orthodox Monastery was rocked by a powerful blast which woke up the monastic brotherhood. The monks who were still awake, among them Bishop Teodosije, confirmed that they first heard a strange muffled sound, then a whiz which lasted about 2 seconds followed by a powerful blast in the very vicinity of the medieval monastery. According to the testimony of the monks the whizing sound came from the hill above the monastery from where it is believed that the grenade was launched. All the monks who remember the last mortar-grenade attack on Visoki Decani Monastery on March 17 riots in 2004 said that the sound and the explosion were very similar to those in the previous attack.
Beside March 2004 attack when 7 grenades fell only 50 m away from the 14th century church, Visoki Decani Monastery area was targeted by mortar grenades twice more since the deployment of NATO led peacekeepers, in February 2000 (6 grenades) and June 2000, when 9 mortar grenades hammered the area around the monastery. The perpetrators of these three attacks have not yet been identified and brought to justice.

The soldiers of the Italian KFOR who are providing military protection of the monastery from a military base in the vicinity of the monastery immediately reacted after the explosion and began a search for the attackers. The situation around the monastery is peaceful again, KFOR soldiers said to the monks who returned to their cells to take some rest before the morning prayer.

Bishop Teodosije said for KIM info-service that this is obviously one more mortar-grenade attack on the Monastery. The attackers probably wanted to intimidate us and send a threatening message both to us and the NATO peacekeepers in this critical political moment for Kosovo firing only one grenade. It is well known that this area is full of well armed extremist paramilitary groups. Some of them threatened the monastery before. It is early now to speak more about this attack and we expect KFOR to come out with an official statement and perform a thorough investigation in order to identify the perpetrators of this terrorist attack on Visoki Decani Monastery. Thank God, no one is hurt, said the Bishop

Source: KIM

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