Shooting of Slovak Prime Minister Likely to Be Classified as Terrorist Attack

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The shooting of Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico seems likely to be recognized as a terrorist attack after the gunman admitted he shot the head of government for political reasons.

Per the Konzervatívny denník Postoj (‘The Conservative Daily Post’), the difference for prosecutors apparently hinges on whether the suspect was trying to attack Robert Fico the man, or Robert Fico the Prime Minister. The fact the suspect, identified as left-wing poet and activist Juraj Cintula, had attended political demonstrations in the past also contributes to the terrorism hypothesis, it is claimed.

TOPSHOT – Picture taken on May 15, 2024 shows Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico being transported from a helicopter by medics and his security detail to the hospital in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia where he is to be treated after he had been shot “multiple times” (Photo by AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

A hole in the bark on a tree, carved by Slovak crime scene investigators to secure evidence following the shooting, is seen at the main square in Handlova, Slovakia, on May 18, 2024, where Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico had been shot “multiple times” on May 15. Slovakia’s health minister said on May 18 the prognosis for Prime Minister Robert Fico was “positive” after an assassination attempt as a court put the suspected gunman in pre-trial detention. Fico has been in hospital since May 15 when a lone gunman shot him four times, including in the abdomen. (Photo by FERENC ISZA / AFP) (Photo by FERENC ISZA/AFP via Getty Images)

While Cintula said he disagreed with several of Fico’s policies and political reforms, according to the document the gunman’s main gripe was with the government not providing military aid to Ukraine. It read that what the gunman “mainly wants is military aid to be provided to Ukraine”, and was concerned that Fico’s government is seen as a “Judas” by the European Union.

Fico won the Slovak national elections last year on a platform that included disentangling the country from the war in Ukraine, which he claims would be better resolved with negotiation — even if that means Ukraine ceding some territory to Moscow — rather than battle.

The position is obviously an unpopular one with other European leaders who have generally wholeheartedly backed Kyiv with weapons, ammunition, and cash support. Fico has been accused of being pro-Russian — which he denies — and of holding a longstanding grudge against Ukraine itself.

The question over whether the gunman was a ‘lone wolf’ or not also continues to be probed by investigators, with the claim that the man’s Facebook chat logs were deleted two hours after his arrest being confirmed. This was a separate event to Cintula’s entire Facebook account being taken down by Facebook itself, as is normal procedure for the company for individuals involved in terrorist attacks.

Few substantive updates have yet been published about Fico’s health after the attack, other than he was in critical, life-threatening condition, underwent major surgery, and is now in recovery. The latest statement by the F.D.Roosevelta Banská Bystrica Hospital says Fico’s health is “stable with a slight improvement”, and that they believe that trend will continue.

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