War declared on mob as car bomb kills Croatian journalist

Croatia declared a war on organized crime after a car bomb killed Ivo Pukanic, a well-known journalist, and a colleague in downtown Zagreb on Thursday.

Pukanic, the publisher of the leading weekly Nacional, and his marketing director Niko Franjic have been killed in an explosion that took place in Zagreb’s Palmoticeva Street at 6:30pm.

The explosive device went off beneath his new Lexus car outside the magazine’s offices injuring two more staff who were at the parking lot at the time.

Hours after his death, the Prime Minister, Ivo Sanader, pledged to confront the ‘mob’ believed to be behind the killings. “I will not allow for Croatia to become Beirut. All of us in Croatia will stand up against this,” he declared.

“This is a shock, a disaster… The police and all of us have to do everything to stop this violence. This has to stop,” Zlatko Mehun, a government spokesman, said.

Last month, Ivana Hodak, a 26-year-old-daughter of a well-known lawyer, was shot twice in the head in her home near police headquarters. The government condemned it as a mafia-style murder, not a terrorist attack.

In 2003, Pukanic won the Croatian Press Association award for publishing an exclusive interview with former Croatian Gen. Ante Gotovina while he was a fugitive. Gotovina was later caught by Spanish police and is now being tried by the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal for allegedly planning the killing and expulsion of ethnic Serbs during a 1995 offensive during the Croatian war.