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Entries in Kosovo (3)

Monday
Feb132012

5-Year-Old Avalanche Survivor Released from Hospital

ARMEND NIMANI/AFP/Getty Images(RESTELICA, Kosovo) -- A 5-year-old girl rescued from an avalanche in Restelica, Kosovo, Saturday that killed her parents, her 2-year-old brother, her paternal grandparents, an aunt, and uncle has been released from the hospital.  The girl had been buried under 33 feet of snow for 10 hours.

A member of the search and rescue team said Amsela Reka was found in the arms of her mother in the snow-covered rubble of her home after hearing her voice and the ringing of a cell phone. Amsela’s mother was also holding Amsela's 2-year-old brother, who died with his mother.

The rescuers cheered and threw their arms in the air when Amsela was pulled from the snow dazed but alive and not seriously harmed.

The family was home when a mountain of snow crashed onto its remote village Saturday morning, covering 22 houses. The village had been cut off from much of the outside world after a month of snow. It took rescuers two and a half hours to reach Restelica, and another hour to dig to the part of town hit by the avalanche.     

Villagers had already been frantically digging through the 33 feet of snow, trying to reach any possible survivors.  Among the nine people reported dead were a married couple and their 17-year-old son.

Amsela, the sole survivor, was wrapped in blankets and rushed to a hospital. Doctors told ABC News she had second-degree cold burns on both hands. As Amsela was leaving the hospital Monday, a funeral was under way for her parents, grandparents, aunt and brother in their village of Restelica.

Searchers continued to look for the body of Amsela’s 19-year-old uncle, but more snowfall and the possibility of another avalanche impeded search efforts.  

Hundreds of people have died during Europe’s two-week-long deep freeze. The Balkans have been blanketed in snow, and many roads are impassable, cutting off remote villages from emergency services and supplies.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar032011

Gunman Kills Two U.S. Airmen in Germany

Photo Courtesy - Boris Roessler/AFP/ Getty Images

(FRANKFURT, Germany) -- A gunman shouting in Arabic opened fire on a bus carrying U.S. airmen in Frankfurt, Germany, Wednesday, killing two and wounding two others before his gun jammed and he was subdued, officials said.  An ethnic Albanian from Kosovo was taken into custody.

The FBI is heading an investigation into the incident because U.S. citizens were killed and it wants to determine whether the shooting was an act of terrorism.

President Obama reacted to the deadly shooting by saying, "I am saddened and I am outraged by this attack."  The president said U.S. investigators would work with German authorities and "spare no effort" to ensure that "all of the perpetrators are brought to justice."

Mr. Obama added that the killings were a "stark reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices" of American servicemembers.

Sources told ABC News the victims were at Frankfurt airport on a bus marked United States Air Force. It was carrying 13 or 14 people, plus the driver.  U.S. investigators are trying to determine whether the shooting occurred while the gunman was on the bus or while he was trying to board the bus.

When he opened fire, the gunman shouted "Allahu Akbar," meaning "God is great," according to sources.  He fired nine times before the gun jammed and he was subdued by other passengers.  While being wrestled into submission, the suspect shouted either "Jihad Jihad" or "Allahu Akbar," sources said.

One of the dead was the bus driver, military officials said.  The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The U.S. service members who were attacked were members of a security forces team assigned to RAF Lakenheath in Great Britain.  They were being transported to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, en route to support overseas operations, although their exact destination was not stated.

The gunman was identifed by sources to ABC News as Arid Uka, although other spellings give his name as Arif Uka.  Although he has lived in Germany for years, he is a citizen of Kosovo and his family is from the northern town of Mitrovica.

U.S. intelligence officials are running Uka's name through terrorism data bases to determine if he has come to their attention previously.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec122010

Kosovo Holds First Parliamentary Elections Since 2008 Break From Serbia

Kosovo PM Thaci, NATO Sec Gen Rasmussen, June 2010. Photo Courtesy - NATO(PRISTINA, Kosovo) -- 1.6 million people were eligible to vote Sunday in Kosovo's first parliamentary elections since it broke away from Serbia in 2008, although many of the country's ethnic Serbs were expected to boycott the balloting.  Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

Kosovo's population is almost all ethnic Albanian and Kosovo has strong links to that predominantly Muslim country.  Ethnic Serbs make up only about 5 percent of its population. 

Unemployment in Kosovo is high, at 48 percent, and opposition parties have campaigned hard on that point, as well as on allegations of corruption against the ruling party of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.  A November no-confidence vote on Thaci and his Democratic Party of Kosovo set up Sunday's balloting, pitting Thaci's party against the Democratic League of Kosovo, led by Isa Mustafa, and other less-powerful challengers.

Thaci, who is leaving his post, is expected to see his party prevail, but it is expected to lose strength to Mustafa's group. 

There have been some violent incidents in the run-up to the vote and 6600 police officers, as well as NATO and EU personnel were patrolling on Sunday to try to stave off more.  Results aren't expected to be complete and official for at least a week.

When Yugoslavia broke up in the 1990s, tension flared between Albanian and Serbian ethnic groups and a brutal civil war broke out in Kosovo.  U.S. troops were a large part of a NATO force sent in to restore peace. 

Kosovo has hopes of joining the European Union and both the E.U. and the U.S. are closely watching this election. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio