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Serb Leader Wounded In Shooting

Serb opposition leader Vuk Draskovic was slightly wounded when gunmen sprayed automatic weapons fire through an open window at his vacation home, his party said Friday.

The shooting occurred around midnight Thursday near this coastal town in Montenegro where Draskovic had been vacationing for two days. His Serbian Renewal Movement, called the shooting a "new assassination attempt" on its leader.

Draskovic, 54, was alone in the house when the assailants "sprayed machine gun fire" through an open window into the living room, a Draskovic spokeswoman, Milena Popovic, told The Associated Press in Belgrade. The house was "peppered with bullets," she said.

Draskovic's head was grazed by two bullets. He was brought to a hospital, treated and released.

"This time again, only God saved Vuk," Popovic said.

Draskovic, a charismatic maverick who claims more popular support than any other opposition leader in Yugoslavia's dominant republic Serbia, alleges the government tried to kill him last year in a road accident that killed four of his close aides.

Reporters standing outside the house caught a glimpse of Draskovic as he returned to the grounds with Montenegro's police chief, Vukasin Maras. The two, flanked by numerous special police, entered the villa. Draskovic's right ear was bandaged.

Arriving Friday morning in Budva, Draskovic's wife told reporters that there was "no doubt this was an assassination attempt" and blamed Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's secret service.

Danica Draskovic said her husband told local police he was in Montenegro but declined their offer of protection. After the first bullet grazed his temple, Draskovic threw himself on the living room floor, his wife said. One of the bullets hit his ear lobe, she said.

According to Danica Draskovic, the opposition leader has been moved to a "safe place" in the nearby village of Milocer.

Montenegro police deployed around the house Friday and set up barricades on roads leading to Budva, an Adriatic Sea resort 25 miles southwest of Montenegro's capital Podgorica. Though police had no comment, a Draskovic aide, Milan Bozic, said police were questioning several suspects.

The shooting was the latest in a series of attacks against prominent figures in Yugoslavia. On May 31, Goran Zugic, Montenegro's national security adviser, was gunned down in front of his home in Podgorica.

In January, Serbia's most infamous warlord Zeljko Raznatovic, known as Arkan, was killed in Belgrade. One month later, Defense Minister Pavle Bulatovic was shot to death in a restaurant in Yugoslav capital.

The deputy prime minister of Montenegro's pro-Western government called the Draskovic shooting an attempt to undermine Montenegro, which long with Serbia makes up the Yugoslav federation but is bitterly opposed to Milosevic.

"The Belgrade regime is propagating an obvious chain of political violence in order to stay in power," Dragisa Burzan said.

Another Draskovic aide, Ognjen Pribicevic, said the opposition chief told him by telephone that he was watching television when the attack occurred. Draskovic assumed there were two assailants involved. Draskovic said he managed to run out of the house as the shooting stopped and called the police from a neighbor's house, Pribicevic said.

On Oct. 3, Draskovic survived a road accident in which three members of his party, including his brother-in-law, were killed. Draskovic, who suffered minor injuries, called the incident an assassination attempt.

Following the accident, Draskovic kept a lower profile, but still made several overt accusations against Milosevic, whom he blamed for "state terrorism."

Draskovic and his party are considered key Milosevic opponents, despite occasional cooperation with the Serb strongman, such as during NATO's bombing campaign last year when Draskovic briefly joined Milosevic's government.

Last summer and fall, Draskovic also refused to join daily street protests organized by a rival opposition group demanding Milosevic's ouster, arguing that protests could lead to a civil war in Serbia.

Instead, he is demanding Milosevic resign and all-out early elections be held only after free and fair election conditions can be implemented.