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Tension mounts between Kosovo Serbs and NATO troops

Reuters

A Kosovo Force soldier from Germany sprays tear gas towards Kosovo Serbs during clashes in the village of Jagnjenica near the town of Zubin Potok October 20, 2011. NATO troops in Kosovo fired teargas to disperse hundreds of Serbs blocking a contested border crossing with Serbia on Thursday, and used armored vehicles in a bid to remove makeshift barriers.

Marko Djurica / Reuters

Kosovo Serbs sit on the street in front of Kosovo Force (KFOR) soldiers from Germany in the village of Jagnjenica near the town of Zubin Potok October 20, 2011. NATO troops in Kosovo (KFOR) fired teargas to disperse hundreds of Serbs blocking a contested border crossing with Serbia on Thursday, and used armored vehicles in a bid to remove makeshift barriers.

Hundreds of Kosovo Serbs took over a border crossing with Serbia early Thursday morning, leading to a confrontation with NATO troops who used teargas to disperse the crowds.

AP Reports:

Kosovo's NATO-led peacekeepers confronted crowds of angry Serbs on Thursday as they tried to remove Serb roadblocks in the volatile north of the country.

For nearly three months, Kosovo Serbs have been blocking roads to stop the country's ethnic Albanian leadership from extending its control over the part of the country populated mostly by ethnic Serbs. The Serbs reject Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia and consider the region a part of the larger Serbian nation.

After Kosovo Serb leaders refused NATO's demand to allow freedom of movement, the peacekeepers in riot gear moved in at dawn Thursday against hundreds of Serbs at roadblocks consisting of parked trucks, rocks, mud and logs.

For complete story: NATO moves to remove Kosovo Serb roadblocks

Darko Vojinovic / AP

German army soldiers serving in the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo move to remove a roadblock near the village of Jagnjenica, Kosovo, early Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo confronted angry Serb crowds manning their roadblocks as tensions escalated Thursday in the volatile north of the country. After Kosovo Serb leaders refused NATO's demand to allow freedom of movement, the peacekeepers in riot gear moved at dawn Thursday against hundreds of Serbs at roadblocks consisting of parked trucks, rocks, mud and logs.

Darko Vojinovic / AP

German army soldiers serving in the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo clash with Kosovo Serbs on a roadblock near the village of Jagnjenica, Kosovo, early Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo confronted angry Serb crowds manning their roadblocks as tensions escalated Thursday in the volatile north of the country. After Kosovo Serb leaders refused NATO's demand to allow freedom of movement, the peacekeepers in riot gear moved at dawn Thursday against hundreds of Serbs at roadblocks consisting of parked trucks, rocks, mud and logs.

Visar Kryeziu / AP

Kosovo Serbs carrying Serb national flag protest against NATO's move to remove roadblocks in northern Kosovo, in the town of Gracanica on Thursday, Oct 20, 2011. Kosovo's NATO-led peacekeepers confronted crowds of angry Serbs on Thursday as they tried to remove Serb roadblocks in the volatile north of the country.