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Shooting in Serbia

July 2, 2016

A nighttime shooting at a northern Serbian cafe has claimed five lives, according to police. They say a lone gunman first killed his wife and another woman. Twenty other people were wounded, including children.

Serbien Schießerei in Café in Zitiste
Image: Reuters/Courtesy of N1

Serbian RTS state television said the man armed with an automatic rifle barged into the cafe in the town of Zitiste before dawn Saturday. The 38-year-old suspect was arrested, reported Associated Press.

Seven of those wounded were in "very serious condition," RTS added. At least three of them were children.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said guests at the cafe "Makijato" managed eventually to wrest the weapon out of the attacker's hands.

"People tell us that he was completely calm," Stefanovic said

Police quoted by RTS said marital problems could have been the trigger.

Shot randomly

The shooting began at 1:40 a.m (2340 UTC Friday). The gunman shot randomly at other occupants, police said.

Zitiste, a town of about 3,000 and close to the northern Serbian city of Zrenjanin, lies in the eastern part of Vojvodina province, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the capital, Belgrade.

Stefanovic said the attacker's weapon was illegal. He appealed to citizens of Serbia to hand over weapons left over from the wars in the Balkans in the 1990s.

Most of the western Balkans are still awash with hundreds of thousands of weapons.

In a bid to reduce the number, Serbian police on Friday offered an amnesty over surrendering or registering illegal weapons until November.

ipj/tj (dpa, AP, Reuters)