World

U.S. Embassy targeted in Montenegro, attacker kills only himself

A Yugoslav army veteran who manned anti-aircraft defences during the NATO bombing in 1999 tossed a hand grenade into the U.S. Embassy compound in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, late Wednesday and then blew himself up, police say.

Adriatic nation has often been caught between factions advocating for Western, Russian alliances

Police block off the area around the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro's capital Podgorica, early Thurday. An assailant hurled a hand grenade toward the embassy and then killed himself with another explosive device. (Risto Bozovic/Associated Press)

A Yugoslav army veteran who manned anti-aircraft defences during the NATO bombing in 1999 tossed a hand grenade into the U.S. embassy compound in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, late Wednesday and then blew himself up, police said.

The embassy on its Facebook page said all its personnel were safe after the incident and there were no reports of material damage.

The Montenegrin man, aged about 41 and born in Serbia, was identified by police only by the initials D.J., though media named him as Dalibor Jaukovic, a decorated Yugoslav army veteran.

"He was a real patriot during the NATO bombing. He served with the Yugoslav anti-aircraft defences," Milutin Dragicevic, who described himself as a distant relative, told Reuters.

In 1999, NATO planes bombed targets in Montenegro and Serbia which together formed rump-Yugoslavia at the time, to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanians in Serbia's then southern province of Kosovo.

Montenegro, the smallest of all former Yugoslav republics, became the 29th country to join NATO last May.

At just before midnight, the man lobbed a hand grenade over the embassy compound fence and then blew himself up, assistant police chief, Enis Bakovic, told reporters.

Bakovic said an investigation was underway to determine whether he had acted alone or with others.

"We are searching social media together with the FBI," he said.

"There are no indications this was an act of terrorism," prosecutor Lepa Medenica said.

Police officers with submachine guns and police vehicles patrolled streets near the embassy building on Thursday morning.

Though the embassy said all staff were safe, it closed for issuing visas on Thursday and told U.S. citizens to stay away until further notice.

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