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Police probe suspicious item near bloodbath scene

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[August 31, 2010]  BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (AP) -- Slovak police on Tuesday used a sniffer dog to check a suspicious package found near the same place a heavily armed man killed seven people and himself.

The shooting rampage, which occurred Monday and wounded 15 other people, has shaken Slovakia. In a sign of its impact, the Slovak news agency TASR reported that a special government session dedicated to the attack was set for later Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, police received a phone call about the suspicious package on a street in the dilapidated Devinska Nova Ves neighborhood of Bratislava, the Slovak capital, police spokeswoman Petra Hraskova said.

HardwareAn Associated Press Television News cameraman said the area was sealed off as officers used a sniffer dog to approach the item under a black car. No other details were immediately available.

Police are still trying to determine what motivated the Monday morning attacker.

The man, described as a 48-year-old local resident, used a machine gun and two pistols to target his victims.

At least five of those killed were members of a Roma, or Gypsy, family, but officials have not yet ascribed any racial motivation to the crime. The Roma face widespread discrimination in Europe.

Eight of the people wounded remain hospitalized. Two, including a 33-year-old Czech man, are in "very serious condition," said Rut Gerzova, a spokeswoman for Bratislava's University Hospital.

A policeman who was badly hurt has improved and started communicating with doctors, she added.

Officials have revealed few details about the gunman, but said he legally possessed the weapons he used.

[Associated Press; By RAFAEL GURBISZ]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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