BELGRADE -- Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic escaped an assassination attempt by Serbs with unspecified links to Belgrade, well-placed sources disclosed here yesterday. The plotters were seized by Dr. Karadzic's security agents, and it is possible that one has been executed.
It is not known how close the would-be assassins came to killing the Bosnian Serb leader during the attack, which is believed to have taken place in western Bosnia recently.
The incident has been hushed up. No mention of it has appeared in the media. But it has sent waves of alarm through the Bosnian Serb leadership and led to new measures to beef up security, the sources said.
Diplomatic sources linked the incident to arrests carried out last month by Bosnian Serb authorities. Several dozen people were detained. Most were members of the Bosnian Serb army. But several also belonged to an organization with the code name of )) "Typhoon" -- a military intelligence unit supplied by Belgrade before the Bosnian war to assist Dr. Karadzic in his initial struggle for power.
Although Dr. Karadzic did not disclose the attempt on his life, he did outline some details about "Typhoon" at a news conference in late October.
They were, he said, a group of Yugoslav military intelligence officers who offered, in 1990, to set up an intelligence unit "to inform us about our enemies." Typhoon was apparently Dr. Karadzic's personal secret police, informing him about all key developments, including activities of political and military figures his regime.
But the emerging chill in Dr. Karadzic's relations with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic over an international peace plan for Bosnia in late 1992 led the Bosnian Serbs to create an entirely new secret service. Dr. Karadzic said he ordered Typhoon disbanded last year, but his order had not been carried out.
Mr. Milosevic's abrupt abandonment of the Karadzic regime three months ago for its refusal to accept another international peace plan for Bosnia has brought the two men into a fierce and open personal conflict.