Update (0934 EST): At least two of the armed men have been killed so far in the gunfight with authorities.
Update (0755 EST): The border crossing at Jarinje has been closed.
The EU condemns in the strongest possible terms the hideous attack against Kosovo Police officers in Banjska/Banjskë in the north of Kosovo.
The responsible perpetrators must face justice. https://t.co/AU79eVg5Ix
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) September 24, 2023
Update (0733 EST): The following images show the armed suspects at the monastery:
At approximately 0100 EST initial reports indicated that a Kosovo police officer was killed and one was injured after a large group of armed suspects open fired at police in Bajske, Kosovo. The incident reportedly began after vehicles with no license plates blocked the entrance to the village. When officers arrived to clear the vehicles, the shooting started. The initial announcement from Prime Minister Kurti reads below:
Kosovo President Osmani immediately concluded her trip to New York once the announcement was made. By 0230 EST, the Kosovo Security Council convened to discuss the situation and reports of Serbian military movement near Kursumlija. The U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo made this statement:
Strongly condemn the orchestrated, violent attacks on the Kosovo Police. KP has full & legitimate responsibility for enforcing the rule of law in Kosovo. The perpetrators must & will be held accountable and brought to justice. I express condolences on behalf of the United States… pic.twitter.com/iWvQ53guZK
— Ambassador Jeff Hovenier (@USAmbKosovo) September 24, 2023
However, the situation has escalated since 0600 EST, when initial reports indicated that the suspects did not flee Bajske, but instead stormed the village monastery, locking themselves and the monks inside with them. Eyewitnesses report hearing gunshots from inside the Monastery, sowing fears of the execution of the religious officials.
This is the live scene from Banjska, Zvecan where the #Kosovo police officer was killed early in the morning. We can still hear gunshots around and more Police forces have just arrived. pic.twitter.com/3TvygoZSUl
— Xhemajl Rexha (@xhemajl_rexha) September 24, 2023
As of this publication, the Kosovo government has confirmed the men are still shooting inside and have locked down the building. This is developing.