Reuters International

PRISTINA (Reuters) - A court in Kosovo sentenced a Serbian man to 13 years in jail on Wednesday on charges of preparing a terrorist attack after police found him transporting explosives in the streets of the capital Pristina.

Slobodan Gavric, born in 1968, was arrested in December 2015 after police found 12.2 kilos of explosives in his car in an area where the United States and other Western embassies are located.

Police said forensic experts working with the FBI had established that the explosive was Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN), a substance used in many terrorist attacks or attempts in past years.

"He was planning to destabilize and destroy the most important political, constitutional, economical and social structures," judge Shadije Gerguri said while reading the verdict, although he did not specify Gavric's target.

Gerguri said the explosives contained fragments of metal, bolts and nails to increase their destructive force and cause a high number of victims.

Gavric remained silent while the verdict was being translated into his language. During the trial he said he had no intention of committing any crime and was only transporting the explosives in order to earn some money. He did not say to whom he was delivering the explosives.

His lawyers said they would appeal.

Security is fragile in Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 following a 1998-99 war in which NATO warplanes bombed Serbia. Some 5,000 NATO troops remain stationed in the new country.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; editing by Giles Elgood and Richard Balmforth)

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