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Slovakia: PM Robert Fico In 'Life-Threatening' Condition After Assassination Attempt; Suspect In Police Custody

According to Slovakian media, the 59-year-old prime minister, Robert Fico, was hit in the stomach after four shots were fired outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometers northeast of the capital, where the leader was meeting with supporters.

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Slovakia's Populist Prime Minister Robert Fico | Photo: AP
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In the first assassination attempt on a senior politician in the modern history of Slovakia, populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was seriously injured and was taken to hospital on Wednesday. According to a message posted on Fico's Facebook account, the prime minister currently is in a life-threatening condition.

As per local media reports, the incident took place in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometers northeast of the capital Bratislava.

According to The Telegraph, UK, Mr Fico’s suspected attacker, who currently is in police custody, has been identified as Juraj Cintula, a 71-year-old man from Levice, a town in western Slovakia. He is alleged to have owned the gun used in the shooting legally and is under arrest.

About the incident: How did PM Fico get shot?

According to Slovakian media, 59-year-old Fico was hit in the stomach after four shots were fired outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometers northeast of the capital, where the leader was meeting with supporters.

As per a report by BBC, a witness heard three or four shots and saw Mr Fico fall to the ground. She saw wounds to his head and chest following which two of the prime minister's guards promptly sprang into action and rushed him into a car. Local reports say he was then airlifted by helicopter to a nearby hospital.

Deputy speaker of parliament Lubos Blaha confirmed the incident during a session of Parliament and adjourned it until further notice, the Slovak TASR news agency said. Minister of Foreign & European Affairs of Juraj Blanár also confirmed that today a violent attempt on life of the Slovak PM Robert Fico took place.

'Brutal, Ruthless, Vile': Reactions on the fatal attack targeting PM Fico

Terming the attack 'brutal and ruthless', President Zuzana Caputova said, “I'm shocked. I wish Robert Fico a lot of strength in this critical moment and a quick recovery from this attack.”

Strongly criticising the attack on the prime minister, President of the European Union (EU) Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said, "I strongly condemn the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico. Such acts of violence have no place in our society and undermine democracy, our most precious common good. My thoughts are with PM Fico and his family.

Fico, a third-time premier, and his leftist Smer, or Direction, party, won Slovakia's Sept. 30 parliamentary elections, staging a political comeback after campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-American message.

Critics worried Slovakia under Fico would abandon the country's pro-Western course and follow the direction of Hungary under populist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

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