Gunfire erupted around former Yugolav President Slobodan Milosevic's villa today, amid much confusion over reports of his arrest.
Multiple gunshots and the sound of glass shattering were heard from inside the compound.
The Associated Press reported that riot police had stormed the villa, firing automatic weapons.
Earlier today, Milosevic appeared at the gates of his compound after the BBC, Serbian television and independent radio station B-92 reported that Milosevic had been arrested.
Government sources also told ABCNEWS that Milosevic had been arrested, removed from his villa in a wealthy area of Belgrade, and taken into custody at the Ministry of Justice.
But the White House did not confirm an arrest, and Milosevic's aides insisted the former president never left his villa.
After the reports, Milosevic greeted supporters outside his home in an apparent rebuke of earlier reports — but one witness said that was after Milosevic had been arrested, taken to a courthouse, and released.
The reported arrest came just hours ahead of a U.S. deadline for Belgrade to cooperate with the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal, or face suspension of millions of dollars in economic aid.
Charges and Repercussions
According to national security officials in Washington, Yugoslav authorities charged Milosevic with the general category of corruption, tax evasion and abuse of power.
The charges remain civil, which means Milosevic likely will not face the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague anytime soon.
Some fear that if Milosevic is extradited to face the international charges, President Vojislav Kostunica's reformist government, only in power for roughly half a year, would face severe opposition.
The main question now is if the civil charges will be enough to convince President Bush to continue the economic aid.
The government in Belgrade had been given until Saturday to cooperate. It was not clear whether Kostunica had ordered the reported arrest.
'That's Where You Belong!'
The mood in Belgrade seemed to confirm Milosevic's arrest.
People on the streets of Belgrade were celebrating as if their former president had been arrested. Screams of joy; exclamations of "Finally!" and "That's where you belong!" were heard.
Tension had been building all day. Several vehicles including a police van and an ambulance arrived at Milosevic's residence in a wealthy suburb of Belgrade this morning.
Hundreds of Milosevic supporters also gathered there in protest. It was unclear how authorities had removed Milosevic from his home, or even if Milosevic was there when authorities arrived.
For the Favor of Washington
Earlier today, before the arrest, Yugoslav leaders expressed confidence they had done enough for Washington to declare they had passed tests of democracy and should continue to receive financial aid.
U.S. legislation requires Yuogslavia's reformist leaders to implement a range of reforms including cooperating with the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal which has indicted Milosevic.
Washington has earmarked about $50 million in aid for Yugoslavia this year, which would have been at risk if Milosevic were not arrested.
Kostunica, who toppled Milosevic in a "peoples' revolution" last year, has opposed sending Milosevic abroad to face charges, arguing it is unconstitutional.
Ahead of the arrest, Bush said he has always maintained Milosevic should be brought to justice.
ABCNEWS' Barbara Starr in Washington and Dada Jovanovic in Belgrade contributed to this report.