Bosnia Muslim president's tomb blown up

The tomb of Bosnia's former wartime president and top Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic was blown up in an explosion early Friday in Sarajevo's Old Town, police said, according to Reuters news agency.

Bosnia Muslim president's tomb blown up

"The tomb of Bosnia's first president, Alija Izetbegovic, was damaged by an explosive device," a duty officer said.

The officer added that nobody was wounded in the blast, which took place at 0300 (0100 GMT).

"The explosion damaged Izetbegovic's tombstone, leaving a 70-centimetre (27-inch) crater, but his body itself was not damaged," prosecutor Miroslav Markovic told reporters, adding that the likely motive was "political".

Police and other security services launched a major investigation into the attack.

And the European Union Police Mission in Bosnia said it was closely monitoring the probe, warning that the incident could threaten security.

Police sealed off the Muslim cemetery, where Bosnian army soldiers killed during the 1992-95 siege of the capital had been buried.

Izetbegovic, who died in October 2003 aged 78, is seen as a hero by most Muslims for leading Bosnia to independence in 1992, a move that triggered the three-and-a-half year conflict between Muslims, Serbs and Croats.

"Criminal act"

The attack on Izetbegovic's grave was strongly condemned by Muslim leaders and the international community's top envoy in Bosnia, Christian Schwarz-Schilling, who called for calm and said he felt "shocked and saddened".

"This country has already experienced too much suffering and this act risks setting back moves towards reconciliation in Bosnia," said Schwarz-Schilling.

Bosnia's current president, Sulejman Tihic, who is also a Muslim, described the attack as a "loathsome terrorist and criminal act".

"This is an attack on Bosnia, its peace and common life, and also an attempt to destabilize the situation in our country," Tihic, the chairman of the rotating tripartite presidency, said in a statement.

Bosnian Serb officials didn't comment on the incident.

The Bosnian war claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people, and displaced some 2.2 million people, about half the country's population.

Post-war Bosnia consists of two entities, the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (FBH), comprising majority Muslims and minority Croats, and the Serbs' Republika Srpska.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16