11 December 2006

Grenade hurled at family home wounds activist, wife in Serbian Muslim enclave

Associated Press, Tuesday, November 14, 2006 7:22 AM


BELGRADE, Serbia-A Muslim political activist and his wife were wounded when an unknown attacker threw a grenade early Tuesday at their home in a Muslim enclave in southern Serbia, officials said.


The pre-dawn attack took place in Novi Pazar, a town at the heart of the predominantly Muslim-populated Sandzak region, some 175 kilometers (110 miles) south of the Serbian capital, Belgrade.


The grenade landed in the bedroom of Mahmut Hajrovic, a leading activist in the Democratic Action Party, while he and his wife, Zumreta, were asleep, Novo Pazar hospital staff said. Both were wounded.


Zumreta Hajrovic sustained severe abdominal injuries and underwent extensive surgery, physician Kemal Brnicanin said. No details were given about Mahmut Hajrovic's injuries.


The couple's two sons, as well as their families, also live in the house but were unharmed in the blast.


Novi Pazar police said an investigation was under way.


The enclave, close to Bosnia to the west and bordering Kosovo to the south, was mostly spared the bloodshed during the 1990s violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo.


However, tensions between rival local Muslim political groups in Sandzak are on the rise, with shootings and violent clashes occasionally breaking out.


The head of the Sandzak Democratic Party, Rasim Ljajic, who is Belgrade's top official in liaising with the U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Netherlands, but whose party was knocked out of power in local Sandzak election, on Tuesday called for a meeting with his political rival in Sandzak, Sulejman Ugljanin, of the Democratic Action Party.


The meeting would take place under the auspices of the local Mufti, and would focus on ways to defuse local tensions, Ljajic said.