A gunman stormed into a police station in a northeastern Bosnian town shouting “Allahu akbar” on Monday, killing a policeman and wounding two others, authorities said.
The gunman was also killed during the attack in the town of Zvornik, police spokeswoman Aleksandra Simojlovic told The Associated Press. “Allahu Akbar” is the Arabic phrase for “God is great.”
The Bosnian Serb police chief, Dragan Lukac, identified the man as Nerdin Ibric.
Zvornik is a town in the Bosnian Serb part of the country and it is located on the border with Serbia. Before the 1992-95 war, about 60 percent of the town’s population was Muslim Bosnians. Almost all were expelled and many were killed during the war as part of a Serb campaign to create a purely Serb area.
Serbs managed to control half of Bosnia by the time the U.S. brokered a peace agreement in 1995 under which each warring party could keep their conquered territory. This is how the country ended up divided into two fairly autonomous regions – one for the Serbs, the other shared by Muslim Bosniaks and Croats.
The two have their own governments, but are linked by a central government based in Sarajevo.
After the war, only a few thousand Muslims returned to the Serb area of Zvornik.
Security Minister Dragan Mektic said the gunman stormed into the building with an automatic rifle and was killed in crossfire with police inside. He said Bosnia’s intelligence service had vague information about a potential terrorist attack three days ago, but that they didn’t know when or where it might occur.
The Bosnian Serb government will hold an overnight emergency session and the regional president, Milorad Dodik, told Bosnian Serb TV he believes the attacker was instructed by someone else even though he acted alone.
Lukac, the police chief, called on citizens to help police.
“We will fight against them and we will never forgive them, but police can’t do it alone. We need the citizens to help,” Lukac said, without specifying who he meant by “them.”
The imam of the Zvornik mosque, Mustafa Muharemovic, condemned the attack.