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Kosovo arrests pair suspected of planning attacks on NATO, France, Belgium

Published on June 08, 2018

Kosovo authorities have arrested a man and a woman suspected of planning "terrorist attacks" on NATO troops, as well as on public places in France and Belgium, judicial sources said on Friday.

The two Kosovo nationals had planned “suicide attacks with cars packed with explosives” against KFOR (NATO-led Kosovo Force) soldiers in Kosovo and also planned to “attack places frequented by citizens,” a Pristina court said in a statement.

The identity of the suspects, who were arrested on Tuesday, was not revealed, nor their motives.

One of the suspects also had Belgian nationality.

The pair have been taken into custody for a month, in accordance with Kosovo law, the court said.

According to official estimates in Kosovo, around 300 Kosovo nationals have gone to Syria to fight for the Islamic State, and more than 50 have been killed there. But 130 have returned to Kosovo.

In 2015 the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point in the United States estimated that, with a population of 1.8 million, Kosovo is one of the most important sources of jihadists in Syria and in Iraq.

In May, a Kosovo court sentenced eight Islamists to up to 10 years in prison for plotting to attack the Israeli national soccer team in a World Cup qualifying match in Albania in 2016.

Most of them were Kosovo Albanians.

Around 90 percent of Kosovo’s 1.8 million inhabitants are Muslim, but the overwhelming majority of them are moderates.