Kosovo sentences four Islamists on terror rap
Kosovo on Wednesday handed jail terms to four Islamists found guilty of planning terror attacks on international peacekeepers and Orthodox churches as well as abroad.
A Pristina court gave prison terms of between 12 months and 10 years to three men and a woman, two of them holding Belgian as well as Kosovar nationality, finding them linked to Islamic State.
The quartet were charged last October with planning attacks on NATO troops stationed in Kosovo and on four churches as well as two discos in the Serbian enclave of Gracanica.
They were also found to have been laying plans for attacks on unspecified locations in France and Belgium.
Most of Kosovo’s 1.8 million inhabitants are ethnic Albanian muslims. Around 120,000 Serbian Orthodox citizens live in the northern ethnically divided city of Mitrovica and in several enclaves.
Prosecutors said the attacks on the churches had been well advanced and that the arrests nipped them in the bud.
Bujar Behrami, a 26-year-old with Belgian nationality, was arrested in September. His fellow plotters — Gramos Shabani, 26 and also Belgian, Resim Kastrati, also 26 and Edona Haliti, 25, were arrested last June.
The court found the four, who also sought to recruit others to their cause, intended “to place explosives in discos and set them off by remote control” or else organise “suicide attacks.”
A further planned modus operandi was to carry out commando-style assaults with automatic weapons and “hand grenades along the lines of the 2015 attacks in Paris,” the prosecution said.
Two other accused were handed shorter jail terms for not informing the authorities despite having wind of the group’s plans.
Some 300 Kosovars went to fight in Syria and Iraq. Around 70 were killed while around 120 have returned to Kosovo where for the most part they have been imprisoned.