Murder of two armed forces personnel in Bosnia is likely terrorist act: Minister

Forensic personnel investigate a bus with windows broken by bullets after an attack in Sarajevo on Nov 19, 2015.
Forensic personnel investigate a bus with windows broken by bullets after an attack in Sarajevo on Nov 19, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

SARAJEVO (AFP) - A man who killed two members of Bosnia's armed forces in Sarajevo was linked to Islamist circles and almost certainly committed a "terrorist act", a minister said on Thursday (Nov 19).

The pair were killed on Wednesday night when a man attacked them with automatic weapons near a barracks in Sarajevo before blowing himself up, the police said.

"Based on elements that we have gathered since last night, it is almost certain that this is a terrorist act," Deputy Defence Minister Emir Suljagic told national radio.

He said the perpetrators were "certainly linked with people of radical religious convictions and that is certainly where we should look for the motivation for this attack", he said.

Dozens of police officers from special forces were dispatched to the scene after the attack in a betting shop in a suburb of the Bosnian capital.

They then trapped the killer, a 34-year-old man inside a house, where he blew himself up at around midnight local time.

Police spokesman Irfan Nefic said two military personnel were killed in the attack, and a bus driver and two passengers were also injured by broken glass when the assailant shot at a bus as he left the scene.

A spokesman for Bosnia's anti-terror agency SIPA, Ms Kristina Jozic, told AFP that "elements that have been collected so far in this case indicate that there are some elements of terrorism".

Leading Bosnian newspapers on Thursday quoted witnesses claiming that the attacker shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) before opening fire.

"When the police surrounded the house, an explosion rang out. They found the corpse of a man who had killed himself inside the house," police official Vehid Cosic told media after the attack.

Muslims make up about 40 per cent of Bosnia's 3.8 million people while the rest of the Balkan country's population is mostly Serbian Orthodox or Catholic.

The vast majority of Bosnian Muslims are moderates but a tiny minority openly support radical Wahhabism.

Last year, a 24-year-old Bosnian Islamist killed a policeman and injured two others when he attacked a police station in the eastern city of Zvornik with a shotgun, before being shot.