Five people have been killed and at least 20 others injured after a man opened fire in a cafe in northern Serbia. The man's wife was among the victims after he unleashed a volley of bullets with an automatic weapon in the town of Zitiste, situated about 50 miles (80km) north of the capital, Belgrade.

The incident took place at 1.40am local time (00.40 BST).

Police said that the 38-year-old man, identified only as ZS, first killed his wife and another woman at the Makijato cafe. He then shot randomly at other people.

Witnesses reportedly told Serbian state TV that the assailant arrived at the cafe and saw his wife with some friends. He left and later returned with the weapon.

"He just pulled out a gun and started shooting, first into the air," said Svetozar Manojlovic, who was at the scene. "It sounded like firecrackers at first," he added. "Then the guy next to me fell down and others started falling down. It was total chaos."

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said jealousy is believed to be the motive. He added that other customers at the cafe managed to snatch the gun from the man when he tried to run away.

"This was completely unexpected," Stefanovic was quoted as saying by the Associated Press (AP). "There were no signs at all, people tell us that he was completely calm and normal." Stefanovic also said the gun used by the killer was illegal and appealed to Serbian citizens to hand over any remaining weapons from the wars in the Balkans in the 1990s.

The injured people were taken to hospitals in nearby Zrenjanin and Novi Sad. Doctors in Zrenjanin reportedly said seven people were in a serious condition and required surgery.