Facing a threat, Kosovo seeks more information about terrorist group

14/11/2013

Kosovo police deployed specialised units to locate the supporters of arrested Islamic extremists following a terrorist threat.

By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 14/11/13

photo

Kosovo's anti-terrorism and anti-cybercrime police units are working on identifying the members of a terrorist group that issued a threat this week. [Laura Hasani/SETimes]

An extremist group that threatened Kosovo police with "terrible and painful attacks" unless six of its members currently being held on terrorism and weapons charges are released is believed to have ties to former fighters in the Syrian war.

Police said anti-terrorism and other specialised units are working to identify the members of the Xhemati i Teuhidit dhe Xhihadit ne Kosove -- Muslim Believers of Tauhid and Jihad in Kosovo. The extremist group sent authorities an email threat on Monday (November 11th).

Information technology experts said the police's cybercrime unit needs about 12 hours to identify the computer from which the threat was sent.

The six suspects, Albanians from Pristina and Gjilan in eastern Kosovo, are believed to have been planning terrorist attacks in those cities. They were arrested November 6th but the operation wasn't made public until Monday.

Experts said the case is an example of the dangers posed by radicalised Balkan fighters who are returning from the Syrian civil war.

"Those who have fought in Syria should be taken seriously. After a period of time they are returning to Kosovo," Fatmir Xhelili, member of the parliamentary commission for internal issues, security and supervision of the Kosovo Security Force, told SETimes.

Xhelili said several Islamic extremist groups operate in Kosovo, but this group is apparently new, which is why there has not been any information about it, said Abit Hoxha, security researcher at the Centre for Security Studies in Pristina.

"For sure, they are inter-connected with the [arrested]. But due to the fact that they issued the threat, they are considered an active cell," Hoxha told SETimes.

Many associated with the group have been arrested, said Avnu Zogani of the Cohu (Stand Up) movement.

"[B]ut the case has been damaged a lot by publicising the arrest," Zogani told SETimes.

Hoxha said former combatants are returning to Kosovo and have a clear ideology.

Kosovo media said the brother of one suspect, Bekim Mulolli, is currently fighting in Syria.

The family of another suspect, Genc Selimi, denied he was in Syria, saying he was in Istanbul intending to study in Egypt through an Arab organisation.

Security experts said the threats issued from this or similar extremist groups are real and can undermine Kosovo's constitutional order.

"The values they have fought for in Syria do not match Kosovo's social context, and therefore Kosovo can be potential territory to extend their activity [elsewhere] in various forms, including violence," Hoxha said.

Related Articles

Loading

Experts also said Islamic extremists seek momentum to increase membership and new opportunities for recruitment and support via the latest technologies.

"Besides regional and international networking, and the impact from the conflicts in the Middle East, the online community of social media serves as mobilisation tool for such groups," Hoxha said.

Jonathan Ratel, head of Kosovo's Special Prosecutor's Office (SPRK), told SETimes his office "is now reviewing the investigation and will decide whether to exercise its exclusive jurisdiction in cases against terrorism, pursuant to the law on SPRK."

What impact can Islamic extremism have on the security in Kosovo and the region? Share your opinion in the comments space.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
Loading
Vote
 
 
  • Email to a friend
  • icon Print Version
  • Share/Save/Bookmark

We welcome your comments on SETimes's articles.

It is our hope that you will use this forum to interact with other readers across Southeast Europe. In order to keep this experience interesting, we ask you to follow the rules outlined in the comments policy. By submitting comments, you are consenting to these rules. While SETimes.com encourages discussion on all subjects, including sensitive ones, the comments posted are solely the views of those submitting them. SETimes.com does not necessarily endorse or agree with the ideas, views, or opinions voiced in these comments. SETimes.com welcomes constructive discussion but discourages the use of copy-pasted materials, unaccompanied links and one-line slogans. This is a moderated forum. Comments deemed abusive, offensive, or those containing profanity may not be published.

SETimes's Comments Policy

Reportage

BiH cracks down on fan violence and nationalismBiH cracks down on fan violence and nationalism

Increased security measures and bans are part of the BiH football federation's plan to curtail fan violence and nationalist rhetoric.

SETimes logo

Most Popular

Loading
Loading
Loading

Poll

Do you believe a proposed war crimes tribunal for Kosovo would be effective in prosecuting alleged war crimes conducted by the former Kosovo Liberation Army?

Yes
No
I don't know