By Bedrana Kaletović
Police arrested 15 Wahabbis in Sandzak, Serbia, early Saturday (October 29th), following Friday’s attack on the US Embassy in Sarajevo.
“This morning at 5am, a police action was undertaken against the extremist Wahabbi movement on the territory of Novi Pazar, Sjenica and Tutin,” Serbian Interrior Minister Ivica Dacic said.
Dacic said the police confiscated telephones, computers and laptops.
The round up came as Bosnian police investigated whether the gunman in Friday’s shootings outside the US Embassy acted alone or had accomplices.
Officials identify the gunman as Mevlid Jasarevic, 23, of Novi Pazar, Serbia. The town has a large Muslim community and Jasarevic himself is described as a member of the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect who has had run-ins with police before.
They say Jasarevic arrived outside the embassy aboard a tram and began firing at the building with an assault rifle, triggering a lock down inside. He wounded a policeman guarding the embassy, but no one inside was injured.
After a 30-minute standoff, a police sniper managed to wound the gunman in the leg. He was arrested at the hospital where he was undergoing treatment.
US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Patrick Moon praised the quick response by local police force, whose actions stopped what political parties are describing as a terrorist attack.
The embassy attack “is also an attack on BiH and all of its citizens, as well as the common values and convictions. Our country is not a terrorist haven nor do our people support anything which could endanger peace, security or anybody’s life”, said Zeljko Komsic, member of the tripartite presidency.
Immediately after the attack, an urgent assembly was held, attended by presidential members, the city council, defence services, and the police forces of BiH, aimed at guaranteeing the security of US diplomats and other Americans in the country.
Serbian police also enhanced security at the US Embassy in Belgrade.
Moon said hopes that the incident will help citizens of BiH unite in their common goal in and do what is necessary to become a part of Europe.
Members of the public, however, told SETimes the shooting was a terrible setback.
“The enormity! All of our efforts to improve the poor image of the country after war fall into the water because of the individuals who do the unthinkable,” says Irma Katic of Sarajevo.
“This is something which reminds me of the worst years of war,” said Tuzla resident Senad Mustafic.
“One man cannot ruin our proved frendship with the American people, but it throws a shadow over all that is being done in our fight for progress,” says Danijel Katic of Sarajevo.
Authorities say Jasarevic is known to security forces — not only in BiH, but also in other countries. He crossed the border with Serbia early Friday. The motive of his attack is still unknown.
Witnesses say that the bearded gunman told passersby he didn’t want to shoot at them, only at the embassy building, because he was angry “about America killing people around the world”.