The murder of journalist Ivo Pukanic - considered one of the country's most prominent and controversial journalists – was carried out by means of a car bomb in central Zagreb. Pukanic was the holder of several journalism prizes, one of which he obtained for his interview in 2003 with runaway war criminal General Ante Gotovina, who was captured two years later in Tenerife and sent to the Hague court. The explosion also killed the marketing director of Pukanic's media organisation, Niko Franjic. Two passers-by were also injured.
Pukanic was known for his insight into mafia affairs and his personal connections to the underground as well as the country's leaders. Police said they were not ruling out any motives for the attack at this stage.
Croatia's journalists' association issued a statement recalling that Croatian journalists had frequently been the target of physical attacks. Earlier this year, Pukanic was shot at with a handgun, while journalist Dusana Miljusa from the daily Jutarni List survived a murder attempt.
EU candidate country Croatia is well on track for membership in the Union in the next few years, but the mafia surge could complicate its record. A Commission progress report is due in November.