Explosions heard in Serb majority areas in Kosovo, no injuries reported - police

TIRANA (Reuters) - Kosovo police said explosions were heard and shots fired on Tuesday as it escorted a state election commission delegation to visit municipalities in the Serb majority areas in the north, but no injuries were reported.

"The Central Elections Commission (KQZ) has requested the Kosovo Police to assist in the preparation of local elections in municipalities across the country," the police said in a statement.

The police said in some areas of Zubin Potok and North Mitrovica, visited by the election commission on Tuesday, some "incidents" had been recorded.

"We suspect gunshots and explosions occurred, but until now no injuries have been reported from these incidents," the police said.

Kosovo media reported that protesters had demolished the offices of the election commission in Zubin Potok.

Serb mayors in northern Kosovo municipalities, along with local judges and some 600 police officers, resigned from their jobs last month in protest over a government decision to replace Belgrade-issued car licence plates with the ones issued by Pristina.

Although Pristina agreed to postpone implementation of the decision for several months, Serb officials and police have not returned to their positions.

The Kosovo election commission has scheduled municipal elections for Dec. 18 in the Serb held north to fill positions in municipal institutions.

Around 50,000 ethnic Serbs who live in the north refuse to recognise Pristina's authority and still consider themselves a part of Serbia.

Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia is recognised by around 110 countries but not by Serbia, Russia, China and five European Union member states.

Belgrade and Pristina on Tuesday pledged to stay committed to an EU-sponsored dialogue which was opened in 2013 to resolve outstanding issues.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci Editing by Ivana Sekularac and Mark Potter)