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Nine dead, several wounded in school shooting in Serbia

A 14-year-old boy shot dead eight fellow pupils and a security guard and wounded his teacher and six other students when he opened fire in his Belgrade classroom on Wednesday morning, Serbia’s Interior Ministry said.

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Officers in helmets and bulletproof vests cordoned off the area around the Vladislav RIbnikar elementary school in the central Vracar neighborhood, where the shooting took place.

Police said a seventh-grade student had been arrested.

“I saw kids running out from the school, screaming. Parents came, they were in panic. Later I heard three shots,” a girl who attends a high school adjacent to Vladislav Ribnikar told state TV RTS.

Casualties are being treated and an investigation into the motives behind the shooting is underway, police said in a statement.

Gun problem in Serbia

Mass shootings are rare in Serbia, which has very strict gun laws. But the western Balkans are awash with hundreds of thousands of illegal weapons following wars and unrest in the 1990s.

Serbian authorities have issued several amnesties for owners to hand in or register illegal guns.

In the deadliest shooting in Serbia since then, Ljubisa Bogdanovic killed 14 people in the central village of Velika Ivanca in 2013, while Nikola Radosavljevic killed nine and wounded five in the eastern village of Jabukovac on July 27, 2007.

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