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Slovakia’s Prime Minister Shot in a Politically Motivated Attack

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Slovakia’s Prime Minister, Robert Fico, has been shot five times in an assassination attempt that has shocked the country. Following the attack, the Prime Minister was hospitalized and the Slovakian deputy Prime Minister, Tomáš Taraba, said that Fico was heavily injured and that one bullet went through his stomach, while the second one hit the joints.

Slovakia’s Prime Minister Shot

The attack on Slovakia’s Prime Minister took place after an off-site government meeting in the town of Handlova. The suspected gunman was among a small crowd of people who were waiting to meet the prime minister.

Šutaj Eštok, Interior Minister, called the shooting politically motivated, saying the suspect made his decision to attack shortly after the presidential election. 

The Suspect

Police have not yet identified the suspect. However, unconfirmed local media reports say that the attacker was a 71-year-old writer, political activist, and former security guard at a shopping mall. 

A member of the Slovak Society of Writers, the alleged gunman’s son said to the news outlet, Aktuality.sk, that his father was the legal holder of a gun license. He also goes on to say “I have absolutely no idea what my father intended, what he planned, what happened.”

A video that’s been circulating on Slovak media purports to feature the suspect. In the footage, the man says he disagrees with the government policies and their stance on state media. 

The shooting of Slovakia’s Prime Minister came on the day the parliament began discussing the government’s proposal to abolish RTVS, Slovakia’s public broadcaster. Thousands of Slovaks gathered to protest the proposed reform.

No Longer in Life-Threatening Condition

Following the shooting, PM Fico was taken to Banska Bystrica instead of the capital, Bratislava. Sources claim the decision was made because the Prime Minister needed an acute intervention and Handlova is a two-hour drive from Bratislava.

Fico was taken to a local hospital and then transferred by helicopter to a major trauma center in Banska Bystrica. The deputy PM believes that the prime minister’s surgery went well and that he was no longer in a life-threatening condition. 

What Others Are Saying About the Attack

Following the attack, Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova said “A physical attack on the prime minister is, first of all, an attack on a person, but it is also an attack on democracy. Any violence is unacceptable. The hateful rhetoric we’ve been witnessing in society leads to hateful actions. Please, let’s stop it.” 

President-elect Pellegrini said the attack was “an unprecedented threat to Slovak democracy. If we express other political opinions with pistols in squares, and not in polling stations, we are jeopardizing everything that we have built together over 31 years of Slovak sovereignty.”

Global world leaders are also condemning the attack, with Russian President Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Orban, Ukrainian President Zelensky, US President Biden, and United Nations Secretary-General Guterres speaking out.

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