Angry demonstrators attacked international troops with rocks, grenades and Molotov cocktails as the joint UN-Nato force took back a UN courthouse which the Serbs stormed last week.

 

The riot erupted after police conducted a pre-dawn raid in order to dislodge a group of Serbs protesters who had been holed up inside two UN-run courts in Mitrovica since Friday.

 

Convoy attacked

 

After the police detained around 50 Serbs in the court, hundreds of residents from the Serb-populated town attacked the security force's convoy and managed to free some of the prisoners.

 

Police later withdrew from the northern half of Mitrovica, but Nato-led Kosovo Force peacekeepers remain in the town.

 

Kosovo's ethnic Albanian-majority parliament unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on February 17, causing tensions in the north where the Ibar River splits Serbs in the north from ethnic Albanians in the south.

 

Monday's violence has been the worst in Kosovo since then.