Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit

Anti-Terrorist Unit Lučko (Lučko ATU) (Croatian: Antiteroristička jedinica Lučko; ATJ Lučko) is the police tactical unit of the Croatian Police stationed in Lučko near Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. Initially distinguishing itself in the Croatian War of Independence, it has gone on to become Croatia's leading police tactical unit. Like all other police units in the country, it is under command of the Ministry of the Interior. It is a member of the ATLAS Network, an association of European police tactical units. Several of its members have gone on to achieve notability, including Croatian mixed martial arts fighter Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović.

Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit
Antiteroristička jedinica Lučko  (Croatian)
Emblème de l'Antiteroristička jedinica Lučko (ATJ Lučko).svg
Active7 September 1990 – present
AgencyCroatian Police
TypePolice tactical unit
Law enforcement
AbbreviationLučko ATU


Members of Lučko ATU during the 16th anniversary of Operation Storm

The unit was established on 7 September 1990.[1] It initially comprised 225 volunteers, many of whom had been enrolled in the First Croatian Police Officer course (Croatian: Prvi hrvatski redarstvenik),[1] which was formed in order to create a police force loyal to the new Croatian government during the political tensions leading to Croatia's proclamation of independence from Yugoslavia, and the subsequent escalation of the Croatian War of Independence.[2] It was the first Croatian fighting unit taking part in the war.[3] It was also the only fighting unit of Croatian Special Police Forces at that time, and the first unit of the future Croatian Special Police.[1] Its first missions were to restore public order in areas where Serbs participating in the Log Revolution were trying to wrest control from the authorities; to take control of the barracks and confiscate weapons of the Yugoslav People's Army, whose authority in Croatia was rescinded by the country's government after it sided with the Log Revolution; and to train units which would later be organised into the Croatian Armed Forces. The unit saw its first military skirmish on 1 March 1991, the Pakrac clash.[1][4] It took part in many battles during the war, including the Plitvice Lakes incident, battles of Glina, Topusko, Petrinja, Nuštar, the Siege of Dubrovnik, and Operations Maslenica, Medak Pocket, Flash and Storm.[1] Members of Lučko ATU chain of command, including General Mladen Markač were tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for alleged war crimes committed during Operation Storm.[5] They were acquitted of all charges on appeal.[6]

After the Croatian War of Independence, the unit specialised in special police assignments. During the course of the war, 14,[7] 19,[4] or 24[1][8] Lučko ATU police officers were killed and 52 wounded in the unit of 350 members.[1][4][7] Subsequently, none of the members have been killed on duty, although several have perished at training in diving accidents.[8]

Organisation and specialisationsEdit

Lučko ATU members rappelling from a helicopter at the Lučko Air Show

Lučko ATU is stationed in Lučko, near Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. As of 2015, the unit numbered 130 police officers, most of whom have college education. Applicants, who must already be police officers with at least four years of experience, are required to pass a demanding battery of tests, and only around 5% are admitted to a 12-month training regimen necessary to join the unit. Like the rest of the Croatian police force, the unit is under command of the Croatian Ministry of the Interior. It answers to the Minister of the Interior, and is only deployed on his direct command.[8]

The unit's specialisations are anti-terrorist actions, actions against organised crime, high-risk arrests, building assaults, hostage situations and negotiations (including aircraft hijackings). Lučko ATU also provides police protection to local and visiting state officials, and has done so during visits to Croatia of George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden, Donald Tusk and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.[8][9]

Lučko ATU members are armed with pistols (including models of Croatian firearms manufacturer HS Produkt), submachine guns, assault rifles, shotguns and optionally sniper rifles, and authorised to use armoured cars and helicopters. Lučko ATU's air unit, stationed at the Lučko Airport, numbers thirty pilots and mechanics, and the unit is reportedly able to reach any part of Croatia within 30 minutes. Lučko ATU is a member of the ATLAS Network of European police tactical units, and also trains with American SWAT teams.[8][10]

Notable membersEdit

Professional mixed martial artist Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipović was a member of the Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit.[11][12][13] He wore his Croatian special police uniform at press conferences,[12] leading to his mixed martial arts nickname "Cro Cop".[11][13] Additionally, seven generals of the Croatian Army were previously members: Slavko Butorac, Miljenko Filipović, Mladen Markač, Mirko Norac, Ante Roso, Željko Sačić and Stanko Sopta.[1][8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Toma, Ivanka (7 September 2010). "Na proslavi ATJ-a Lučko i braća Mamić, Thompson, Bandić..." [Lučko ATU celebration attracts Mamić brothers, Thompson, Bandić...]. Večernji list (in Croatian). Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  2. ^ "O udruzi" [About the Association]. First Croatian Policeman (in Croatian). Zagreb. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  3. ^ Nazor, Ante (2007-01-01). Počeci suvremene hrvatske države: kronologija procesa osamostaljenja Republike Hrvatske: od Memoranduma SANU 1986. do proglašenja neovisnosti 8. listopada 1991 [The beginning of the modern Croatian state: the chronology of the Republic of Croatia independence process: from the 1986 SANU Memorandum to the Declaration of Independence on 8 October 1991] (in Croatian). Hrvatski memorijalno-dokumentacijski centar Domovinskog rata [Croatian War of Independence Memorial-Documentative Centre]. ISBN 9789537439019.
  4. ^ a b c "Obilježena 28. obljetnica osnutka Antiterorističke jedinice Lučko, najelitnije postrojbe hrvatske policije" [The ceremony for the 28th anniversary of Lučko Anti-Terrorist Unit, the most elite unit of Croatian police]. Jutarnji list (in Croatian). 7 September 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Tribunal Convicts Gotovina and Markač, Acquits Čermak" (PDF). The Hague: International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  6. ^ "War court clears Croatia generals". BBC. 17 November 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  7. ^ a b "18. godišnjica ATJ Lučko" [Lučko ATU's 18th anniversary]. Ministry of the Interior, Croatia (in Croatian). 8 September 2008. Archived from the original on 15 September 2008. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Novak, Tomislav (4 December 2015). "SPECIJALNIH 130 PROTIV TERORISTA Nitko im ne zna imena, za pola sata mogu doći do najudaljenije točke i intervenirati, slušaju samo ministra" [THE SPECIAL 130 AGAINST THE TERRORISTS Nobody knows their names, in half an hour they can reach and intervene in the most remote areas, they answer only to the Minister]. Globus (in Croatian). Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  9. ^ Flegar, Snježana (23 May 2011). "Visoki rizik: I ronioci će čuvati papu Benedikta XVI. u Zagrebu" [High risk: Divers will keep Pope Benedict XVI safe in Zagreb]. 24 sata (in Croatian). Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  10. ^ "U ATJ Lučko završen tečaj FBI-a" [Lučko ATU members complete FBI course]. (in Croatian). RTL Televizija. 2 June 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  11. ^ a b Grayson, Nathan (11 November 2015). "Saying Goodbye To One Of MMA's Most Terrifying Fighters". Kotaku. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Ministar dodijelio prigodne nagrade" [The Minister bestows awards]. Ministry of the Interior, Croatia. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  13. ^ a b Sinovčić, Dean (26 March 2002). "Mirko Filipović - Croatian policeman who became a Japanese superstar". Nacional (332). Croatia. Retrieved 6 September 2019. Filipović, as a member of the anti-terrorist unit Lučko, the source of his nickname Crocop.

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