Attacker shot dead after wounding Israeli embassy guard in Belgrade

Attacker shot dead after wounding Israeli embassy guard in Belgrade

An attacker with a crossbow wounded a Serbian police officer guarding the Israeli Embassy in Belgrade on Saturday, Serbia’s interior ministry said.

He was shot dead and died soon afterwards.

The man was later identified as a 25-year-old Serbian national named Miloš Žujović. Žujović had been living in Novi Pazar, in the southeast of the country, and converted to Islam from Eastern Orthodoxy and took on the name Salahudin.

Interior Minister Ivica Dačić said in a statement that the attacker fired a crossbow bolt at the officer, hitting him in the neck. He said the officer then "used a weapon in self-defence to shoot the attacker, who died as a result of his injuries.”

The policeman was conscious when he was transported to Belgrade's main emergency hospital, where an operation to remove the bolt from his neck will be performed, the statement added.

A spokesman with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “today there was an attempted terrorist attack in the vicinity of the Israeli Embassy in Belgrade.” The spokesman said the embassy is closed and no employee of the embassy was injured.

Dačić told reporters that “we are still talking about possible motives."

He added, however: “There are now all indications that the motives relate to terrorism. Because there is no other motive why someone would attack a gendarme outside the Israeli Embassy.”

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 as the Wahhabi movement,” said Dačić, referring to the hard-line Islamist movement, also known as Salafism. “But this still has not been confirmed.”

Authorities raised the security alert in Belgrade, including for foreign embassies and government buildings, as well as public places such as shopping malls and other busy areas.

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