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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 March, 2003, 02:31 GMT
Serb police kill Djindjic suspects
Police handout of dead suspects Dusan Spasojevic (left) and Milan Lukovic
The two men were allegedly leaders of the mafia-linked Zemun Clan
Serbian police have shot and killed two men described as top suspects in the assassination of Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, the Interior Ministry says.

The two, named as Dusan Spasojevic and Mile Lukovic, were shot as they were resisting arrest late on Thursday night in a Belgrade suburb where they had been hiding, the statement said.

The men were said to have opened fire with automatic weapons, and were reportedly armed with grenades.

"The suspects resisted arrest and opened fire on police officers... they were killed in ensuing shooting," the statement reported.

None of the arresting officers was injured.

State of emergency

Both the men are alleged to have been leaders of the mafia-linked Zemun Clan.

Zoran Djindjic
Around 1,000 people have been arrested in relation to Djindjic's killing

The group has been accused of planning the 12 March assassination of Djindjic, which occurred in the capital Belgrade.

Djindjic, a popular figure, had declared war on organised crime in Serbia, which had flourished throughout the country when Slobodan Milosevic was in power.

Since the assassination Serbia's authorities have maintained a state of emergency, during which people can be held for 30 days without charge, and without access to lawyers.

Police have arrested about 1,000 people, including members of Serbia's secret service and policemen.

Serbia's elite special police unit, the Special Operations Unit (JSO), was also disbanded following the assassination, after the arrest of one of its assistant commanders in relation to Djindjic's killing.

Suspect at large

On Tuesday, Djindjic's successor Zoran Zivkovic announced that 38-year-old Zvezdan Jovanovic had been arrested on suspicion of carrying out the shooting of the prime minister, which took place in a car park near a government building.

Police also said they had found a German-made Heckler Koch G3 sniper rifle, which they believe to be the murder weapon.

However police are still searching for the main suspect, named as former JSO commander Milorad Lukovic.

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