A leading Serb politician in Kosovo was assassinated outside the offices of his Citizens' Initiative party in the northern city of Mitrovica early Tuesday. Doctors say Oliver Ivanovic received at least five gunshot wounds to his upper torso when shot by unknown assailants. Milan Ivanovic, the head of Mitrovica hospital, says doctors attempted to save Ivanovic but could do nothing. The action is likely to stir tensions in Kosovo almost exactly 10 years after it declared independence from Serbia, the AP reports. The region has remained tense despite efforts by EU officials to mediate talks between Serbia and Kosovo leaders on normalizing ties. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo's independence.
Marko Djuric, the Serbian government's official dealing with Kosovo, said Tuesday that "whoever is behind this attack ... whether they are Serb, Albanian, or any other criminals, they must be punished." Djuric added that the attack "is an attempt to push the Serbian people into chaos, to push Serbia into chaos." The Kosovo government also strongly denounced the slaying, saying it considers it to be a challenge to "the rule of law and efforts to establish the rule of law in the whole of Kosovo territory." "Violence is unacceptable, without taking into consideration where it comes from and toward whom it is directed," said the statement. Serbian state television says that President Aleksandar Vucic has called a top security meeting.