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Ex-Ethnic Albania Rebel Leader Hurt

July 7, 2000

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia (AP) _ A former Kosovo Liberation Army commander was wounded Friday when attackers fired a rocket-propelled grenade into his car.

Ramush Haradinaj was traveling before dawn with his cousin when the attack took place in the Kosovo village of Streoce, said sources in Haradinaj’s political party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.

NATO spokesman Maj. Scott Slaten confirmed the attack and said Haradinaj was taken to the U.S. military hospital at Camp Bondsteel. U.S. spokesman Capt. Loran Doane said Haradinaj suffered cuts on his head and that his injuries were not life-threatening.

The cousin, Daut Haradinaj, was also injured. Daut Haradinaj is a sector commander of the Kosovo Protection Force, which was organized as a civil emergency unit after the KLA was officially disbanded last year.

Ramush Haradinaj was a leading commander in the ethnic Albanian guerrilla army during the 18-month conflict with the Serbs that prompted NATO military intervention last year.

After the conflict ended and NATO-led peacekeepers replaced Serb forces here, Haradinaj organized what is believed to be the third-largest political party in the ethnic Albanian community.

In May, Haradinaj scuffled with Russian peacekeepers and got a black eye after they stopped him at a checkpoint. He was briefly detained after two weapons were found in his car without proper paperwork.

NATO said he had attempted to flee and that peacekeepers and military police ``subdued him.″

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