Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Embassy attack: Police raid village

Special police units raided homes in a Bosnian village linked to the gunman who fired at the US embassy in Sarajevo in what authorities called a terrorist attack.

Saturday's raids came as 17 suspected associates of the gunman, all said to be members of the ultra-conservative Wahhabi Muslim sect, were briefly detained in Serbia.

A convoy of police vehicles entered the isolated northern village of Gornja Maoca, known to be inhabited by many Wahhabis, and officers wearing black masks and camouflage uniforms surrounded several houses.

The gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Mevlid Jasarevic, is accused of shooting at the embassy in Sarajevo with an automatic weapon for at least 30 minutes on Friday, wounding a policeman guarding the building, before a police sniper immobilised him by shooting him in a leg.

An amateur video obtained by the AP shows what appears to be Jasarevic roaming a deserted junction, waving his gun and occasionally turning towards the embassy building, shooting at the fence and facade. Another video caught him dropping on the ground after the sniper shot him.

Jasarevic is believed to be a follower of the Wahhabi sect and police said he visited Gornja Maoca several times this year and in 2010. Both the gunman and the police officer were taken to hospital. Their wounds were not considered to be life-threatening, authorities said.

Bosnian and Serbian police have coordinated the response to the embassy attack, and the raids in Bosnia were part of a joint operation. The village appeared blocked with police setting up checkpoints, stopping cars and searching them.

Police were searching several locations in Bosnia and questioning people, state prosecutor Dubravko Campara said.

In Serbia, police said 18 houses were searched and computers and mobile phones confiscated. The 17 people held were later released after questioning.

Wahhabism is a very conservative branch of Islam that is rooted in Saudi Arabia and linked to religious militants in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Police raided Gornja Maoca in February 2010 because its residents were accused of posing a security threat in Bosnia by promoting racial and religious hatred and illegally possessing weapons.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph