Kosovo arrests suspects in plot against Israeli soccer team

Kosovo arrests 19 suspected ISIS terrorists in connection with a plan to attack Israel’s national soccer team during its visit to Albania.

Elad Benari,

ISIS
ISIS
Reuters

Police in Kosovo said on Wednesday they arrested 19 suspected Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in the past 10 days in connection with a plan to carry out an attack against Israel’s national soccer team as it visited neighboring Albania.

The police said the suspects were in contact with an ISIS member, the self-declared "commander of Albanians in Syria and Iraq", Lavdrim Muhaxheri, from whom they received orders to attack, reported the Reuters news agency.

"They were planning to commit terrorist attacks in Kosovo and also (an attack) against Israeli [soccer] team and their fans during the Albania-Israel match," Kosovo police said in a statement.

Albania moved a World Cup European qualifying match with Israel on November 12 from the northern city of Shkoder to a venue near the capital Tirana, because of fears of a possible terrorist attack targeting the Israeli team. Four people were arrested on terrorism charges.

Israel won the game, 3-0. Before the game, Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a travel warning for Albania which was lifted on Sunday, after the game was played.

The police said the suspects had planned to carry out "synchronized terrorist attacks", but it did not give any details. It said explosives, weapons, ammunition and a drone had been seized, according to Reuters.

At least 200 people have been detained or investigated in Kosovo over their alleged links with ISIS in recent years, the report said.

A total of 300 Kosovars went to Syria to fight alongside Islamic state troops and more than 50 have been killed there.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 with the backing of the West. In 2015 it adopted a law introducing jail sentences of up to 15 years for anyone found guilty of fighting in wars abroad. It has made sine high-profile arrests in a bid to root out suspected Islamist networks.




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