Kosovo police thwart Christmas car bomb

A municiple worker puts the final touches to a Christmas Tree in the main square in Pristina on Dec 20, 2014 ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations in Kosovo. Kosovo authorities said Friday a potential car bombing was thwarted in Pristina on Ch
A municiple worker puts the final touches to a Christmas Tree in the main square in Pristina on Dec 20, 2014 ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations in Kosovo. Kosovo authorities said Friday a potential car bombing was thwarted in Pristina on Christmas day when police stopped a Serbian in a vehicle packed with a large quantity of explosives. -- PHOTO: AFP

PRISTINA (AFP) - Kosovo authorities said Friday a potential car bombing was thwarted in Pristina on Christmas day when police stopped a Serbian in a vehicle packed with a large quantity of explosives.

Interior Minister Skender Hyseni said in a statement that police had seized more than 12kg of explosives Thursday, and noted had they been "detonated in a public place, human casualties would have been enormous".

Police spokesman Baki Kelani told reporters the car was "filled with a huge quantity of explosive material," and was stopped late Thursday while being driven through a residential area in the capital that houses many embassies and diplomats.

A high-level police official involved in the probe who asked not to be named told AFP that the explosive "could be ignited remotely," and is "of a type and quantity suitable for the destruction of large objects."

Kosovo's prosecutor has launched a probe into what is being considered a plotted "terrorist attack."

Hyseni said in his statement the car's driver "is a citizen of Serbia... with permanent residence in Belgrade, and (carrying) Belgrade licence plates on his car."

The driver - born in 1968 and identified only by the initials S.G. - was immediately arrested, Kelani said.

Police refused to speculate on the intended target.

Local media said a possible target could have been the Catholic cathedral the city centre close the the arrest site, which was packed with hundreds of Christmas day worshippers.