Assailant with a crossbow dead during attack at Serbian embassy of Israel

Assailant with a crossbow dead during attack at Serbian embassy of Israel

An attacker who fired a crossbow and wounded a police officer guarding the Israeli embassy in Belgrade was shot and killed in what officials described as a “terrorist attack against Serbia“.

The officer was in a guardhouse and the attacker approached him several times asking for the location of a museum, Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said. He carried a bag from which, at one point, he pulled out the crossbow and shot the guard.

The police officer was hit in the neck with an arrow and fired several shots at the attacker, who later “died as a result of his injuries”. The identity of the assailant is still being determined.

“This is a terrorist attack against Serbia,” said Dacic. “We are still talking about possible motives.”

He said one person was arrested near the scene of the shooting. Police are investigating a possible network and ties with “foreign terrorist groups”, he added.

“There are indications that those are individuals already known to the security services,” Dacic said.

The policeman was conscious when he was transported to Belgrade’s main hospital and underwent an operation to remove the arrow from his neck. Hospital officials said he’s in stable condition after surgery.

Israel’s embassy is located not far from the United States embassy in an upscale Belgrade district. It is guarded by an elite police unit with officers armed with automatic weapons.

Serbia has maintained close relations with Israel during its war on Gaza. Israel-linked institutions around the world have been on high alert for attacks and protests since Israel launched its invasion in October.

In a statement, the Israeli foreign ministry said the embassy in Belgrade remains closed and no employees were injured. It added the “circumstances of the incident are being investigated”.

‘Act of insanity’

Serbia’s populist President Aleksandar Vucic visited the wounded officer in the hospital, promising a sweeping crackdown.

“We are hunting them down. We will have no mercy for terrorism in Serbia,” said Vucic.

Investigators in white forensic suits surrounded the body of the suspect on the street outside the building, which was swarmed with police vehicles.

Dacic said later several people believed to have been linked to the incident were arrested. “There are some indications they [those arrested] are already known to security services,” he said.

Serbian Prime Minister Milos Vucevic strongly condemned what he labelled a “heinous terrorist act”.

“This was an act of insanity, which cannot be attributed to any religion and any nation. It is a crime of an individual,” he said, according to quotes from the Beta news agency.

Vucevic promised his country would firmly respond to the “threat of terrorism” and stressed Serbian citizens could “feel safe”.

Our Correspondent

Our Correspondent

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *