PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro — Ethnic Albanians torched
Serb homes and churches yesterday as Kosovo convulsed in a second
day of violence, its worst since the province’s war ended in
1999.

Serbian nationalists set mosques elsewhere on fire and
threatened to retaliate with “slaughter and death,” and
NATO sent reinforcements to quell tensions in the U.N.-run province
and ease the threat of renewed conflict in the volatile
Balkans.

The clashes, which began Wednesday when ethnic Albanians blamed
Serbs for the drownings of two children, have killed at least 31
people and wounded hundreds more, including several dozen U.N.
police and NATO peacekeepers, according to U.N. spokeswoman
Izabella Karlowicz.

“The international community’s drive to reduce
(NATO) forces and the U.N. police for cost reasons and because of
Iraq has turned out to be an error,” warned Winfried
Nachtwei, a German lawmaker who visited Kosovo this week.

The White House called for an end to violence in Kosovo and said
President Bush met with his national security team to monitor the
situation. The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade closed temporarily to the
public as a precaution.

“We continue to call on all groups to end the violence and
refrain from violence,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan
said.

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