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Suicide bomber throws grenade into US embassy compound in Montenegro

By AFP - Feb 23,2018 - Last updated at Feb 23,2018

Police take security measures after an unknown person ‘threw an explosive device from the intersection near the Sport Centre into the US embassy compound in Podgorica, Montenegro, on Thursday (Anadolu Agency photo)

PODGORICA, Montenegro — A Serbian-born suicide bomber blew himself up after throwing a grenade into the US embassy compound in Podgorica, causing no injuries, the Montenegrin government said on Thursday. Authorities in Podgorica have released no theories as to the motive for the early morning attack in Montenegro, which recently joined NATO, but said it was unlikely to have been a terrorist attack.

"At this moment we have not found [evidence] to talk about terrorism. Everything else is being investigated," prosecutor Lepa Medenica told reporters.

"In cooperation with the FBI, police are checking his social media accounts and investigating if [the attacker] D.J. worked alone or had accomplices, as well as what was the motive of the attack," Montenegro's deputy police chief Enis Bakovic said. 

The attacker, identified only by his initials and as a 43-year old Montenegrin citizen born in Serbia with no criminal record, "committed suicide by activating a hand grenade M-75, after he had thrown one into the embassy compound," Medenica said.

A US State Department spokesperson said officials were "working closely with police to identify the assailant[s]".

Montenegro's main daily paper Vijesti published a picture, apparently from the attacker's Facebook page, showing an award he won for his service in the Yugoslav army in 1999, which was signed by the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic. 

That was the year in which a NATO air campaign against the rump Yugoslavia — composed of Serbia and Montenegro — ended the Kosovo war. Montenegro declared independence in 2006 and has espoused pro-Western policies ever since.

 

 'Man's body removed' 

 

An AFP correspondent who arrived on the scene shortly after the blast did not see any damage.

Police said the explosion had left a crater in an inner courtyard, but that there was no other damage to embassy property.

On its Twitter account, the embassy said all its staff were "safe and accounted for", but it cancelled all visa services for the day, although access was available for US citizens "on an emergency basis". 

A guard at the sports centre who asked not to be named said he "heard two explosions, one after another". 

"Police came very quickly and the body of a man was taken away," he told AFP.

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