KUCIC KULA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnian police on Tuesday arrested a man with suspected links to a gunman who stormed into a police station in the country's Bosnian Serb region shouting "Allahu akbar," killing one policeman and wounding two others before he died in the shootout.
New details are also beginning to emerge about the gunman, with residents from his village saying his father was taken away by Serbs in 1992 at the start of a brutal multi-ethnic war and never seen again.
Monday's attack in the Bosnian Serb town of Zvornik instantly raised tensions in Bosnia, still fragile two decades after the end a war between its Christian Orthodox Serbs, Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats that left 100,000 people dead and divided the country along ethnic lines.
The suspect taken into custody is known to police and has been questioned in the past for possible Syria ties and recruitment efforts for the Islamic State group, Bosnian Serb police chief Dragan Lukac said.
The gunman was identified as 24-year-old Nerdin Ibric. Police say the gunman shouted "Allahu akbar," which is the Arabic phrase for "God is great," before opening fire in the town of Zvornik.
Police didn't give the full name of the suspect arrested Tuesday, identifying him only by the initials A.S.H. in accordance with Bosnia's privacy laws.
Lukac said the suspect had frequent contact with Ibric in the lead-up to Monday's attack. The police chief didn't immediately give details about the suspect's connection to the shooting, or whether he may have inspired the gunman to launch an attack by preying on his vulnerabilities about his father.
Izeta Okanovic, a neighbor of the gunman in the nearby village of Kucic Kula, told The Associated Press that the man's father was taken away in 1992 and that he never came back. Local media reported that Serb police rounded up the father along with 750 Muslims from the town and killed them all.
The town, located on the border with Serbia, was about 60-percent Muslim before the start of the 1992-95 war. Almost all Muslim residents were expelled from the town, and many were rounded up and killed as part of a Serb campaign to create a purely Serb area.
The 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement ended the vicious war and divided the country into two autonomous regions, one for Serbs and the other shared by Bosniaks and Croats. The regions are linked by a weak central government, parliament and presidency.
In the wake of Monday's attack, the Bosnian Serb leader, who is pushing for independence for the Serb region of Bosnia, said the country's central institutions are "useless" and Bosnian Serbs should form their own intelligence service.
Milorad Dodik said Tuesday morning the Bosnian Serbs have the right to "defend themselves." The previous evening, a Bosnian Muslim gunman killed one police officer and injured two after he stormed into a police station in the northeastern town of Zvornik, in the Serb part of the country, shouting "Allahu akbar," or God is great.
Aida Cerkez reported from Sarajevo. Irena Knezevic contributed to this report from Banja Luka.