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Operation "Mountain Storm" in Macedonia. November 2007
A group, calling itself the Political-Military Council of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) says it was behind yesterday's armed clash with Macedonian police forces which left at least six dead.
In a statement, the organization claims that its members, formerly of the “Albanian Territorial Liberation Army“, had been "forced to assemble a regular military unit in order to protect the endangered Albanian people, and every inch of Albanian territory.“
This Thursday, the situation in the Tetovo region village, the scene of yesterday's battle, is calm.
According to the United Press International, "Six ethnic-Albanian men were killed in Macedonia’s northwestern mountainous region near Tetovo, close to the border with Serbia’s Kosovo province."
Northwestern Macedonia, dominated by ethnic Albanians, was on the verge of a civil war in 2001.
An Albanian insurgency was quelleed and a broader conflict averted by a broad peace-and-reforms package brokered by the West to give the Albanians more rights.
The whole area, with Macedonia's second-largest city Tetovo as its hub, has however remained volatile and virtually uncontrollable, owing to the Albanians' hostility to the central government and porous borders with Kosovo to the north and Albania to the west.
In September a policeman and a crime boss were killed in a firefight in the Tetovo area and there are regular reports of armed groups appearing along the border with Kosovo.
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