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Serbia: Police officer shoots man who attacked him with a crossbow in front of the Israeli embassy

The authorities identified the attacker as a Serbian convert to Islam. They also made several preventive arrests.

A Serbian policeman in front of the Israeli embassy in Belgrade.AFP

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A police officer on Saturday killed a person who attacked him with a crossbow in front of the Israeli embassy in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said.

The attack took place around 11 a.m. local time when a person, "whose identity is being determined, shot with a crossbow at a member of the gendarmerie, who was on duty in front of the Israeli embassy, and hit him in the neck," the minister said.

The officer used his weapon "in self-defense" and the attacker "died of his wounds," he added in a statement.

Serbian Prime Minister Milos Vucevic condemned the "heinous terrorist act," which took place in the Balkan country of more than 6.5 million people.

"This was an act of madness, which cannot be attributed to any religion or any nation. It is the crime of an individual," he declared, as reported by the Beta news agency.

Dacic, in turn, called the attack "a terrorist act directed against the Serbian state and a member of the gendarmerie." A special prosecutor's office is now handling the case.

Authorities indicated that several people who are known to security authorities and suspected of being linked to the attack were arrested.

"There are already suspicions that these are people already known to the security services, and we are talking about the Wahhabi movement," an ultra-conservative branch of Islam that is popular in Saudi Arabia, Dacic said.

Several people were detained "preventively," and security measures were increased in the city, he detailed.

The wounded policeman was taken to hospital, where he will undergo surgery.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry reacted to what it called an "attempted terrorist attack" and reported that no embassy employees had been injured.

Serbia has continued to sell arms to Israel following the outbreak of the war in the Gaza Strip, triggered by the Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in southern Israel.

A 25-year-old 'convert'

Authorities identified the attacker as Miloš Žujović, a convert to Islam from the Serbian town of Mladenovac, about 30 miles from Belgrade.

The 25-year-old assailant reportedly moved to Novi Pazar, the historical and political center of the Bosnian Muslim minority in Serbia. According to local media outlet Tanjug, police searched the attacker's apartment, where he lived with his wife and son.