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[ALBSA-Info] Arkan, the most wanted serb war criminal, has finally been killed

Adrian suphey at
Sat Jan 15 16:28:33 EST 2000

Serb Paramilitary Leader Arkan Killed

.c The Associated Press
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (Jan. 15) - Masked gunmen shot and killed a notorious Serb paramilitary leader on Saturday in the lobby of the Belgrade Intercontinental Hotel. 

Zeljko Raznatovic, better known as Arkan, was taken to a hospital for emergency surgery, police said. A doctor at Belgrade's emergency hospital, who asked not to be identified, said he had seen Arkan and that ``all vital functions had stopped.'' 

The official Tanjug news agency later confirmed that Arkan had died and that two others with him had been shot, including a bodyguard who was also killed. Other media reports said that his sister-in-law was wounded in the attack. 

A source in the hotel, who asked not to be named, said the gunmen used a Heckler and Koch submachine gun and escaped after at least one bullet hit Arkan in the eye while he was sitting in a sectioned-off part of the lobby. 

Arkan, 47, and his paramilitary forces have been accused of involvement in atrocities during Serbia's war with Croatia. Reputedly one of Serbia's wealthiest individuals, Arkan was a longtime ally of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. 

Arkan was indicted for war crimes in Bosnia in September 1997, but the indictment was kept under wraps until the NATO air campaign in the Balkans began in March. His paramilitary forces also have been accused of involvement in atrocities during the Croatian war, which broke out in 1991. Arkan's forces sided with Serb rebels in both wars. 

The tribunal made public his indictment in an apparent attempt to dissuade him from joining the Serb crackdown in Kosovo 

He denied involvement in war crimes. 

In London, the British Foreign Office issued a statement saying it had confirmed Arkan's death. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said, ``Arkan lived violently so it is therefore no surprise that he died violently.'' 

``I regret his death because it prevents us doing justice to the victims of his atrocities by seeing him in the dock of at The Hague war crimes tribunal,'' the statement added. 

Arkan was wanted for bank robberies in Western Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. In the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia that began in 1991, the Belgrade ice cream parlor owner made his fortune in black market currency trading, oil smuggling and arms dealing. 

His ``Tigers'' militia, meanwhile, became known for savagery. 

During the NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia, Arkan frequently warned the Atlantic Alliance against a land invasion, warning of fierce resistance. 

He and his wife Ceca, a popular Serbian folk singer, were frequent visitors to Belgrade's Hyatt Hotel during the bombing, apparently fearing to stay at home and risk becoming a NATO target. 

AP-NY-01-15-00 1545EST

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.  All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL. 

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