Kosovo police arrest three alleged ISIS jihadists

AFP PTI Automatic Pristina

Kosovo police said today that they have arrested three ethnic Albanians suspected of setting up a "terrorist organisation" as media alleged they were recruited by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

Special police forces carried out an operation coded "Hit" early today in which three persons were arrested in southern Kosovo over suspicions they were "setting up a terrorist organisation and conducting recruitment," a police statement said.

In a raid of the apartments of those arrested police discovered and seized propaganda material, electronic and military equipment, the statement said.

The three were transferred to the police headquarters in Pristina, where they were being questioned, the press release said giving no further details.

But Express news portal reported that the suspects were part of a 150-member Kosovo group that has volunteered in the Syrian civil war on the rebel side against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad

It is believed that they had been recruited at the time by the ISIS jihadist group, according to Express.

The three have just recently returned home where Kosovo intelligence intercepted their communication and planning, reports said.

Express said that the arrested jihadists were planning to carry out "suicide attacks targeting mass gathering places in order to cause widespread bloodshed and casualties" as a sign of non-acceptance of Kosovo's strong pro-western stance.

More than 90 per cent of Kosovo's 1.73 million predominantly ethnic Albanian population are Muslims who mostly practice moderate Islam and keep strong political and cultural ties with the Western world.

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First Published: Jun 26 2014 | 8:57 PM IST