Policeman Milovan Nikolic and one of his attackers were killed in a clash near a bus station on the outskirts of Mitrovica, located in a mining and industrial area 40 km (25 miles) north of the Kosovo capital Pristina. Two policemen were seriously wounded.

Serbian officials said the KLA ambushed a police patrol shortly after midnight.

Reporters saw a police car which had been hit by small arms fire and a civilian vehicle which appeared to have been destroyed by a grenade.

The road was littered with spent cartridges and police also found a live hand grenade.

Nikolic died at the scene and the corpse of the gunman was found by police in a nearby back yard.