Serbian officer shot with crossbow outside embassy

  29 June 2024    Read: 823
Serbian officer shot with crossbow outside embassy

A police officer has been injured in a crossbow attack outside the Israeli embassy in the Serbian capital, Belgrade.

Interior Minister Ivica Dacic told reporters that the officer had subsequently shot and killed the assailant.

The attacker - who authorities have said was Serbian - had hit the policeman in the neck with an arrow, Mr Dacic said.

The officer has had surgery, and is no longer in a serious condition, authorities say.

Serbian broadcaster B92 quoted Mr Dacic as saying the attacker had approached a small building at the front of the Israeli embassy around 11:00 (09:00 GMT), purportedly asking about a museum.

He then opened the door to the small building, removed a crossbow and shot the officer, Mr Dacic was quoted as saying. The officer then returned fire and the assailant died about half an hour later.

Serbian authorities told the AFP news agency that the assailant was born in 1999 in the town of Mladenovac, around 30 miles from the capital.

They said he had later moved to Novi Pazar - the cultural centre of the Bosniak Muslim minority - and converted to Islam.

Mr Dacic said the case had been taken over by special prosecutors and that several others had been arrested as a precautionary measure.

While the interior minister suggested the attack may have been part of a larger threat, Serbian Prime Minister Milos Vucevic called it "a crime of an individual".

According to comments reproduced by the Beta news agency, he described the incident as "an act of insanity, which cannot be attributed to any religion and any nation".

Both the prime minister and interior minister characterised the incident as a "terrorist act".

The Israeli foreign ministry said the embassy had been closed at the time of the incident and that no employees had been injured.

The incident in Belgrade is not the first time someone has seemingly attempted to attack an Israeli embassy since 7 October, when Hamas carried out an unprecedented attack on southern Israel, and Israel launched a campaign to destroy Hamas.

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