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Explosion Rocks Center of Pristina

August 18, 2000

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) _ An explosion rocked the center of Kosovo’s capital on Friday, damaging the offices of Serb, ethnic Albanian and other political parties all housed in one building.

NATO officials said the blast appeared to have been caused by a bomb. One person suffered cuts and bruises and several others were in shock, said Flight Lt. Tim Serrell-Cooke, speaking for NATO peacekeepers.

``It just exploded from the middle of nowhere, and we didn’t know what hit us,″ said Linda Spahiu, who worked for the party representing Kosovo’s Turkish minority, her face cut from the blast.

The explosion shattered windowpanes in the vicinity. U.N. police and NATO peacekeepers cordoned off the area.

The building was run by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE is in charge of democracy building in the province, still wracked by ethnic hatreds and lawlessness more than a year after NATO bombing forced an end to the Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanians.

Bernard Kouchner, Kosovo’s chief U.N. administrator, said the bomb was planted by ``enemies of democracy.″

``A bomb is a very undemocratic means″ of expressing an opinion, he told reporters at the scene.

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