Pristina, Kosovo - One policeman was killed and another wounded in north Kosovo early Sunday, according to authorities, during an armed attack on a patrol as it approached a blocked road near the border with Serbia.
'As soon as they arrived in the vicinity of the place where the blockade was reported, the police units were attacked from several different positions with an arsenal of firearms, including hand grenades and shoulder-fired missiles,' police said in a statement.
Kosovo's prime minister, Albin Kurti, was quick to condemn the attack, calling the ambush an act of terrorism.
'The attackers are professionals with masks and armed with heavy weapons. We condemn this criminal and terrorist attack,' Kurti wrote on social media.
'Organized crime with political, financial and logistical support from officials in Belgrade is attacking our country,' he added.
Tensions have been smoldering for months following the Pristina government's decision to install ethnic Albanian mayors in four Serb-majority municipalities in May.
The action has triggered one of the worst bouts of unrest in the north in years, with demonstrations, the arrest of three Kosovar police officers by Serbia and a riot by Serb protesters that saw more than 30 NATO peacekeepers injured.
Kosovo remains overwhelmingly populated by ethnic Albanians, but in the northern stretches of the territory near the border with Serbia, ethnic Serbs remain the majority in several municipalities.
The tussle in the north is just the latest in a long list of incidents to rock the area since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 -- nearly a decade after NATO forces helped push Serbian troops from the former province during a bloody war that killed around 13,000 people.
Belgrade -- along with its key allies China and Russia -- has refused to recognize Kosovo's independence, effectively preventing it from having a seat in the United Nations.