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Eight fatally shot in Serbia town a day after nine killed at school

BELGRADE, SERBIA (AP) – A shooter killed at least eight people and wounded 13 in a drive-by attack near a town close to Belgrade, Serbia late on Thursday, the second such mass killing in two days, state television reported.

The attacker shot randomly at people near the town of Mladenovac, some 50 kilometres south of the capital, the RTS report said early yesterday. Police were looking for a 21-year-old suspect who fled after the attack, the report said.

The shooting came a day after a 13-year-old boy used his father’s guns in a rampage at a school in Belgrade that killed eight of his fellow students and a school guard.The bloodshed sent shockwaves through a Balkan nation unused to mass murders.

Though Serbia is awash with weapons left over from the wars of the 1990s, mass shootings are extremely rare. Wednesday’s school shooting was the first in the country’s modern history. The last mass shooting before this week was in 2013, when a war veteran killed 13 people in a central Serbian village.

Serbian Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic called Thursday’s shooting “an extremist act”, state media reported.

Special police and helicopter units have been sent to the region as well as ambulances, it added.

No other details were immediately available, and police had not issued any statements.

Earlier on Thursday, Serbian students, many wearing black and carrying flowers, filled streets around the school in central Belgrade as they paid silent homage to peers killed a day earlier.

Thousands lined up to lay flowers, light candles and leave toys to commemorate the nine people who were killed on Wednesday morning.

The tragedy also sparked a debate about the general state of the nation following decades of crises and conflicts whose aftermath have created a state of permanent insecurity and instability, along with deep political divisions.

Schoolchildren light candles near the Vladislav Ribnikar school in Belgrade, Serbia. PHOTO: AP
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