Man blows himself up in Belgrade bakery — but police say it is not terrorism
A man blew himself up in a bakery in the centre of the Serbian capital Belgrade on Monday, police said, adding that the blast did not appear to be terror-related.
No-one else was hurt in the blast after the 50-year-old man asked everyone inside to leave, while damage to the surrounding area was minor, police said.
“An unknown man was killed today at around 12:38 pm (1138 GMT) on Ilije Garasanina street after he activated an explosive device in a cake shop,” a police statement said.
“Interior ministry officials are probing all the facts and circumstances of the event.”
A later police statement said the probe so far “shows that this was not a terrorist attack, because before the activation of the device the man asked two employees and one shopper to leave”.
Police sealed off the street after the incident, which occurred a few hundred metres from an open market, a high school and a sports centre.
An AFP reporter at the scene said the windows were still intact at the Petkovic bakery.
“It was a not a strong blast, the sound was like two cars crashing. We didn’t even understand what was going on until we heard the police,” said a local shopkeeper, Ljubica, who gave only her first name.
The website of daily newspaper Kurir, citing calls from readers, said the man went into the bakery, “forced everyone out of it, lay down on the bomb and blew himself up”.
The shop is is reportedly owned by Bratislav Petkovic, a former culture minister and former adviser to President Tomislav Nikolic.
Police have previously said there could be several hundred thousand unregistered weapons in Serbia, including guns and grenades, remaining from the 1990s Balkan wars.
Last year, the interior ministry urged citizens to hand over grenades rather than leave them in garbage cans as it sought to cut down on illegal arms.