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Belgrade: An attacker with a crossbow was shot dead outside the Israeli embassy in the Serbian capital on Saturday after he reportedly attacked and injured a police officer, according to Serbia’s interior ministry. The attacker reportedly fired a bolt at the officer, hitting him in the neck, and the officer responded by fatally shooting the assailant.

Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said in a statement that the officer then “used a weapon in self-defence to shoot the attacker, who died as a result of his injuries.” The policeman was conscious when he was transported to Belgrade’s main emergency hospital, where an operation to remove the bolt from his neck will be performed, it added.

The identity of the attacker is still being determined. “All the circumstances of the attack and possible motives are being investigated,” Dacic said. Serbia has maintained close relations with Israel amid its armed intervention in Gaza.

It is important to note that the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip has led to tensions across the world as several countries have jumped to either Israel’s or Palestine’s support in the conflict. The United States, Israel’s closest ally, saw massive protests in its prestigious universities that resulted in a hard-handed police approach in some places. Many Western countries also house a significant Jewish and Arab population.

A spokesman with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “today there was an attempted terrorist attack in the vicinity of the Israeli Embassy in Belgrade.” The spokesman said the embassy was closed and no employee of the embassy was injured.

Israel’s Embassy is located not far from the US Embassy in an upscale Belgrade district. It has been guarded by an elite police unit with officers armed with automatic weapons.

More details awaited.

(from AP inputs)

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