The U.S. embassy in Montenegro was attacked with a thrown explosive device by a suicide bomber.
The attack occurred at 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, in the capital city of Podgorica, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. The embassy was closed at the time and nobody was injured except the attacker, who blew himself up with a second device. Montenegro state television said the attacker was a 43-year-old man who was born in Serbia but resided in Podgorica.
U.S. Embassy in Podgorica advises U.S. citizens there is an active security situation at the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica. Avoid the Embassy until further notice. Follow @USEmbassyMNE and @TravelGov for updates. https://t.co/LIrKnCAD87
— Department of State (@StateDept) February 22, 2018
Nothing was damaged but the explosion left a crater in the ground, according to a police statement, via RFE/RL. The attacker was not within throwing range of the main embassy building. The U.S. State Department is not aware of a clear motive for the attack, according to Steve Goldstein, the U.S. State Department’s undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, via RFE/RL.
The attacker was identified as Dalibor Jaukovic, a former Yugoslav Army soldier. He held anti-NATO feelings, according to RFE/RL. The radio network said he wrote “No to NATO” in a Facebook post. The posts on his page appear to be publicly inaccessible.
The embassy remained closed for issuing visas on Feb. 22 and people were warned to avoid the area, Express reported. RFE/RL said that Americans were advised to avoid large gatherings in the capital city and pay attention to updates on the situation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in neighboring Serbia during the attack. Serbia is trying to build closer ties with Moscow.
At 00:30, in front of the @USEmbassyMNE building in #Podgorica, #Montenegro an unknown person committed suicide with an explosive device. Immediately before, that person threw an explosive device from the intersection near the Sport Center into the US Embassy compound. (1 of 2)
— Govt. of Montenegro (@MeGovernment) February 22, 2018
Montenegro’s government accused some Serbian and Russian citizens of plotting a coup in the 2016 elections. The government claims they wanted to assassinate the prime minister and install a pro-Russian government to prevent Montenegro from joining NATO, RFE/RL reported.
Montenegro joined NATO in 2017. Russia objected to the move, along with pro-Russia supporters in Montenegro.
The incident this morning occurred exactly 10 years after demonstrators attacked the U.S. embassy in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade. They didn’t agree with U.S. support of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia. They protested and set part of the embassy on fire.
In 1999, 78 days of NATO airstrikes on Serbia ended the war in Kosovo.
The last time a U.S. embassy was attacked was in 2015, in Uzbekistan. No one was injured in that incident, as well.