ISIS terror suspects planned bomb attacks in Kosovo and assaults in France and Belgium
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Suspected jihadists have been charged in Pristina on suspicion of planning a series of attacks including at a church in Kosovo, two discos and unspecified assaults in France and Belgium, judicial sources told AFP.
Three men and a woman, all from Kosovo and allegedly linked to Islamic State, were arrested earlier this year and charged on October 4, according to an indictment seen by AFP and reported on Saturday, October 13.
The plot leader, named as 26-year-old Bujar Behrami, is also accused of being an organizer of a thwarted attack on the Israeli national football team during a World Cup qualifier in Albania in November 2016.
Gramos Shabani, 26 – who also holds Belgian citizenship – Resim Kastrati, 26 and also known as P.C. Habibi, and Edona Haliti, 25, were arrested in June.
According to Balkan Insight, two other people – Albert Ademaj and Leotrim Musliu – were also charged.
The indictment says Behrami aimed to build a group called “Supporters of the Islamic State in the Land of Eagles” to plan attacks in Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia, and the six were charged with establishing the organization and planning attacks from December 2017 to June 2018, Balkan Insight reported.
Everyone but Behrami has denied the charges.
Behrami, also known as Abu Musab El-Albani, was arrested in September and is also accused of discussing recruitment for suicide attacks with Balkan jihadists fighting with ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
He also has Belgian citizenship.
Behrami began communicating via Telegram with a person in Syria known as A1 in September 2016, Balkan Insight reported.
“We talked about attacks using Kalashnikovs or explosives and had not yet decided about the target,” Behrami allegedly said. A1 then connected him with Albanian Islamic State commander Ridvan Haqifi and they “agreed that would be good to attack the Israelis at the [football] match planned for later that year.”
“The idea was to start the attack with a drone against the Israelis, then with Kalashnikovs,” Berhami is quoted as saying in the indictment, AFP reported.
He said that he had been told by A1 and Haqifi that funds would be made available, Balkan Insight reported.
Eight men were sentenced in May to up to 10 years in prison for the foiled attack.
Haqifi, a recruiter and commander of ethnic Albanian ISIS fighters, was reported killed by a drone strike in February 2017. He had replaced Lavrdim Muhaxheri as a commander in June 2017 after Muhaxheri was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Syria.
In May, prosecutors said some of the eight men indicted for the football plot were directed by Muhaxheri.
Behrami said that he continued communicating with others in ISIS who were not named in the indictment after Haqifi and Muhaxheri were killed.
Source: Defence Post