Page last updated at 22:10 GMT, Monday, 6 October 2008 23:10 UK

Croatia 'mafia hit' spurs sacking

The coffin of Ivana Hodak is carried out of her apartment block in Zagreb on 6/10/08
Ivana Hodak was killed in broad daylight outside her home

Croatia's prime minister says he is sacking his interior and justice ministers following the "mafia killing" of a prominent lawyer's daughter.

Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said he had also fired the national police chief after the latest in a series of brutal daylight attacks in the capital Zagreb.

Ivana Hodak, 26, was shot dead in her Zagreb building on Monday morning.

Her father Zvonimir Hodak is defending an ex-general suspected of stealing $5m in diamonds used in wartime deals.

Mr Sanader said he was asking parliament to approve the sackings of the two ministers and the police chief.

Parliament is expected to endorse his proposal.

"I expect swift police action. It is high time we cracked down on the mafia," he told a news conference.

'Heinous crime'

Ms Hodak, a law intern, was shot twice in the head in the stairwell of her apartment block in central Zagreb.

President Stjepan Mesic called it a "heinous crime, all the more dangerous as it happened in broad daylight".

Local media have speculated that Ms Hodak's death may be linked to her father's work, although police have refused to confirm a link.

Zvonimir Hodak is representing former Gen Vladimir Zagorec, a defence ministry official who is accused of embezzling $5m in jewels for use in deals during Croatia's independence war.

Zagreb has been hit by a wave of mob-style violence in recent months.

A prominent crime reporter, a city administration official and a construction firm boss are among those who have been subject to assaults in various separate incidents.

Country profile: Croatia
10 Jul 08 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Croatia
10 Jul 08 |  Country profiles

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