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Friday, 11 May, 2001, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Milosevic ally shot dead
Former President Slobodan Milosevic with his wife Mirjana Markovic (L)
Ms Mandic was part of the Milosevics' inner circle

A close ally of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been found dead in her Belgrade apartment, apparently murdered.

The Yugoslav daily Blic paper described Klara Mandic as a "close associate and propagandist of the former regime."

She was found on Thursday evening by firemen, who were called out by neighbours. She had been shot in the head.

Police said her flat was set on fire by her killers, and her body partially burned.

Investigators' initial findings suggest she was killed during an attempted robbery, but police have not entirely ruled out a political motive.

Born to Jewish parents at a concentration camp in Italy in 1944 and later orphaned, Ms Mandic was adopted in Belgrade by a Serb family in 1945.

High-level connections

After a career as a dentist, Ms Mandic ventured into politics and became close to Mr Milosevic and former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic
Ms Mandic was also close to Radovan Karadzic
With the fall of Mr Karadzic, Ms Mandic withdrew from politics, but continued to champion Serb nationalist causes.

Both Mr Milosevic and Mr Karadzic have been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for war crimes, in Kosovo and Bosnia respectively.

At least five of Mr Milosevic's allies have been killed since 1997, including former Yugoslav Defence Minister Pavle Bulatovic and former Serbian Deputy Interior Minister Radovan Stojicic.

Their killers have never be found.

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See also:

08 Feb 00 | Europe
Yugoslav defence minister killed
02 Apr 01 | Europe
US approves Yugoslav aid
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