Spanish police say they arrested Vladimir Milisavljevic (L) and Luka Bojovic at a restaurant in Valencia [AFP]

A man convicted over the killing of Serbia's prime minister in 2003 and two other alleged members of a notorious paramilitary gang have been arrested in Spain, according to police sources.

A police official said that Vladimir Milisavljevic, sentenced in absentia to 35 years in prison for his involvement in the assassination of Zoran Djindjic, was arrested in a restaurant in the eastern city of Valencia on Thursday.

Luka Bojovic and Sinisa Petric, both alleged to have been members of the Serbian paramilitary group known as "Arkan's Tigers", were also arrested, the police official said.

Serbian President Boris Tadic said on Friday that Serbia was "one step away from winning the battle against organised crime."

"Serbia today is very close to dealing a blow to organised crime that it would not be able to recover from for the next decades," the president said, adding that the police action in Spain was coordinated with Serbian security services.

Milisavljevic has been a fugitive since Djindjic was killed by a sniper outside government offices in Belgrade in 2003. In 2007 he was sentenced over the killing, as well as to 40 years for other crimes.

He was one of nearly a dozen former gang members and paramilitaries sentenced for their roles in the assassination.

Extradition

Serbia's Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said the arrests meant the "Zemun Clan has almost ceased to exist".

"With the arrest of Vladimir Milisavljevic, practically all members of the Zemun gang - except for Milan Juricic and Ninoslav Konstantinovic of whom we do not know if they are even alive - have been caught," Dacic said, quoted by Tanjug news agency.

Belgrade will request extradition of those arrested in Spain "as soon as possible", Justice Secretary Slobodan Homen told Tanjug.

"Interpol has informed the justice ministry that four people were arrested in Spain and we have begun to prepare an extradition request and translate the necessary documents into Spanish," Homen said.

Spanish police said Bojovic was wanted for 20 murders in Serbia, the Netherlands and Spain.

Maja Kovacevic, a judge and spokeswoman for Serbia's organised crime court, said that Bojovic was not wanted over Djindjic's killing but was wanted for three unrelated killings.

Kovacevic told The Associated Press news agency that the indictment against Bojovic alleged that he took over and organised the fugitive members of the gang that killed Djindjic after they fled Serbia in the aftermath of the killing.

Djindjic was a leading figure in a popular uprising that toppled Slobodan Milosevic, the president of then-Yugoslavia in 2000.

Arkan's Tigers were a Serbian paramilitary force, led by Zelijko Raznatovic, known as Arkan, accused of committing atrocities during the 1990s wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia.

Source: Agencies