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TOP SERB AIDE WOUNDED BY GUNMAN

A top aide and longtime bodyguard of Serbia's vice premier was shot and seriously wounded Friday in yet another high-profile gun attack in this crime-ridden country.

Petar Panic, 33, a security adviser and close associate of Vojislav Seselj, was shot near his home in Belgrade's suburb Surcin.

The gunman, identified as 29-year-old Ljubimir Jovanovic, fled the scene, police said.

The attack came about two weeks after the slaying of Zeljko Raznatovic, known as Arkan, the country's top paramilitary leader and another ultranationalist figure. It may indicate a showdown in Serbia's complex underworld of political, paramilitary and mob leaders.

Panic was in critical condition, the independent Beta news agency said.

He underwent several hours of surgery to remove six bullets that ripped his intestines and liver, a hospital official said on condition of anonymity.

Seselj's Serb Radical Party declined to comment.

Police said they issued an arrest warrant for Jovanovic but gave no other details except that he opened fire after a brief argument with Panic.

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