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Man shoots wife dead before opening fire on customers in cafe attack

It is the third mass shooting in recent years in Serbia.

Serbia shooting POlice examine the scene of the shooting. Source: RTS Sajt - Zvanični kanal via Screengrab

A MAN SHOT dead five people, including his wife, and injured another 20 in a cafe in northern Serbia early this morning, police said, with jealousy the suspected motive.

The man “entered the cafe and opened fire with an automatic rifle, killing his wife and another woman, then he continued to shoot at other citizens in the cafe,” a police statement said.

Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic visited the scene and was quoted by N1 television channel as saying that the weapon was illegal and jealousy was believed to be the motive.

It is the third mass shooting in recent years in Serbia, which has tried to shrink the number of illegal weapons in circulation since the 1990s Balkan wars.

The latest incident happened at about 1:40 am (12.40am Irish time) in the town of Zitiste, around 80 kilometres north of Belgrade.

Police arrested the alleged shooter, born in 1978 and named only by his initials Z.S., and opened a probe into the killings.

Stefanovic said the attacker tried to flee the scene, but police stopped and arrested him.

“We are all shocked that something like this could happen, since this was a very quiet man who had no police record,” he said according to the state-run Tanjug news agency.

Hungary Serbia Migrants (File photo) Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Arguing

N1 channel reported that the attacker argued with his wife in the cafe, left the building and returned with a Kalashnikov-type rifle with which he opened fire.

Two people were killed instantly, while three died after being taken to hospital in the nearby city of Zrenjanin, the channel’s report said.

The others wounded, some of them severely, were taken to various Serbian hospitals but were not in critical condition, reports said.

serbia 2 The scene of the shooting. Source: RTS Sajt - Zvanični kanal via Screengrab

Illegal gun ownership is widespread in Serbia and the rest of the former Yugoslavia.

Police have previously said there could be several hundred thousand unregistered weapons in the country, including guns and grenades, remaining from the 1990s Balkan wars.

The shooting spree came a day after the interior ministry launched a new drive to encourage owners of illegal weapons to hand them into their local police stations.

Such people “will not be held accountable for unauthorised buying and holding of weapons,” the police announcement said Friday.

- © AFP, 2016

Read: Inner-city shooting: Gardaí call for taxi drivers and motorists to come forward

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