Kosovo: 2 plead guilty to plotting attack on Israeli soccer team

Two Kosovo men plead guilty to planning attacks at World Cup soccer match in Albania against visiting Israel team.

Elad Benari,

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Two Kosovo men pleaded guilty on Wednesday to planning attacks at a World Cup soccer match in Albania against the visiting Israel team last year, Reuters reported.

Kosovo police arrested 19 people in November 2016 on suspicion that they had links with the Islamic State (ISIS) group and were planning attacks in Kosovo and neighboring Albania. Nine of them were charged.

The state prosecutor said some of them were in contact with Lavdrim Muhaxheri, ISIS’s self-declared “commander of Albanians in Syria and Iraq”, who ordered them to attack. Muhaxheri was reportedly killed in June this year.

“... I accept guilty plea,” defendant Kenan Plakaj said in court. He is accused of making explosives, after police found half a kilo of explosives at his house, the indictment said. The other defendant, Besart Peci, also pleaded guilty.

Sentences were not announced, noted Reuters.

Another defendant facing trial had kept in his basement 283 grams of self-made explosives. The same triacetone triperoxide explosive was used in attacks in Paris and Brussels and has been found in various foiled bombings in Europe since 2007.

Muslim-majority Kosovo is home to 1.8 million people, around 300 of whom have joined the jihadists' frontlines in Iraq and Syria in recent years – the highest ratio in any European country.

Kosovo's authorities have subsequently strengthened legislation and made high-profile arrests in a bid to root out suspected Islamist networks.

In 2016, a Kosovo court sentenced an imam and six others to up to ten years in jail for recruiting fighters for the ISIS or joining the group in Syria.




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