Slovak interior minister: Prime Minister Fico shooting 'politically motivated'

Slovakia's Interior Minister has said that the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico on Wednesday may well have been a politically motivated assassination attempt.

The shooting occurred in Handlova in central Slovakia, where Fico was visiting to attend a government meeting.

He was shot as he was walking toward a crowd of local residents after the meeting. Fico was taken to hospital. A suspect was detained at the scene.

The Slovakian government said initially that Fico was in a life-threatening condition.

On Thursday, Reuters news agency quoted the director of the hospital where Fico was admitted as saying that the prime minister had undergone five hours of surgery to treat multiple gunshot wounds. The director said that his condition has stabilized but is still truly serious.

Deputy Prime Minister Tomas Taraba told the BBC that the prime minister was shot from a close range, and one bullet went through his stomach.

Local media reports said that the suspect is a 71-year-old man who had a license to possess guns.

Reuters said that in an undated video posted on Facebook, the alleged attacker was seen saying, "I do not agree with government policy." He was apparently referring to government policy on the media.

Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok told a news conference on Wednesday that the shooting may well have been politically motivated.