Germans arrested in Kosovo were intelligence agents

Other News Materials 22 November 2008 18:01 (UTC +04:00)

Three Germans arrested in Kosovo in connection with a bomb attack on the European Union (EU) headquarters were intelligence service operatives, German media reported Saturday, dpa reported.

Spiegel news magazine said the trio told Kosovo anti-terrorism police they were inspecting the site of the blast in Pristina but had nothing to do with the attack, which damaged the building but caused no injuries.

On Friday, a German government spokesman declined to be drawn on speculation about the possible involvement of the foreign intelligence service BND in the case and instead pointed to the ongoing investigations.

However, the spokesman said if it emerged any of the three were BND employees, the matter would be referred to the parliamentary committee responsible for monitoring the secret services.

Kosovo police arrested the three Germans on Wednesday, five days after an explosive device was hurled at the office of the EU's Special Representative for the region.

One of the men was reportedly photographing the damaged office from an adjacent empty building from where the device is believed to have been thrown, Spiegel said.

The newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said one of the men told the investigators he was working for the BND.

The suspects were in Kosovo "in a private capacity" and had no immunity from prosecution, Kosovo police spokesman Veton Elshani told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The BND did not comment on the case. An EU mission is due to take over the oversight of law-enforcement in Kosovo after more than eight years as a United Nations protectorate.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February and Pristina, Belgrade, the UN and EU are currently wrangling over the conditions for the deployment of the EU mission, Eulex, comprising 2,000 police, judicial and customs officials.