BELGRADE - Serbian police arrested 15 people in raids on suspected radical Islamists on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire with an assault rifle on the U.S. embassy in neighbouring Bosnia, Serbia's Interior Ministry said.
Friday's broad daylight attack in the Bosnian capital paralysed central Sarajevo and had shopkeepers scrambling for cover as the gunman paced up and down firing on the embassy before a police sharpshooter wounded him and he was arrested.
One police officer was also wounded in the attack and several bullets struck the wall of the embassy compound.
Police in Serbia said they had conducted raids in three towns in southwestern Serbia, including the mainly Muslim Novi Pazar, the hometown of the gunman identified as 23-year-old Mevludin Jasarevic.
"At 5 a.m. this morning, police launched an operation against the extremist Islamic Wahhabi movement in Novi Pazar, Sjenica and Tutin," Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said in a statement. Wahhabism is a strict branch of Islam.
Fifteen people were arrested and police seized mobile phones and computers.
Serbian media reported that police had stepped up security around the U.S. embassy in the capital, Belgrade.
Security officials in Bosnia said that Jasarevic, who was convicted of robbery in Austria in 2005 and deported to Serbia, had entered Bosnia on Friday morning and had visited hardline Islamists in the northern Bosnia earlier in the year.
The Novi Pazar region has been raided before. In 2007, police uncovered what it said was an Islamist "terrorist" training camp, seizing plastic explosives, grenades and automatic weapons.
© 2016 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.