After Belgrade Attack, U.S. Embassy Re-opens

The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade re-opened for business today, nearly a week after hundreds of demonstrators protesting American support for Kosovo's declaration of independence attacked and set fire to the building.

Soot marks from the fire could still be seen around the windows, which were boarded up. Broken glass still littered the pavement outside the building on a busy main road just a few blocks from the Serbian government building.

As work resumed in the embassy, workmen were busy installing huge bomb-proof metal screens in the lower windows of the building facing a side street.

The embassy was attacked on Thursday following a demonstration of a nearly quarter of a million people angered by Kosovo's announcement that it would break off from Serbia.

Ninety percent of the nearly two million Kosovars are ethnic Albanians who have demanded independence from Serbia ever since Yugoslavia broke into separate nations in the 1990s. The United States has long been a supporter of independence for the province, which has been under UN jurisdiction since the war there in 1999.

Following the protest Thursday, a group of several hundred young men, many known to be associated with various often violent supporters of local soccer clubs, converged on the embassy building and began hurling stones and Molotov cocktails.

Security staff and U.S. Marines assigned to protect the Embassy were forced to seek safety inside the building when the violence began.

One of the protestors was killed during the attack. His charred remains were found inside the embassy building and many rumors have circulated in the city surrounding his death. Many Serbian newspapers have reported that the young man was shot by the Marines as he entered the building.

An ABC News source dismissed those claims, which were also denied by Serbian government officials.

"He probably panicked and was overcome with fumes," the source told ABC News.

On Tuesday, Serbia's National Security Council met to launch an investigation into the attack. Recently elected President Boris Tadic, who ran on a platform of promoting ties with the West, has demanded a full inquiry.

Following the attack, 90 non-essential staff and dependents were evacuated to neighboring Croatia. They have not yet returned.

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