Two Kosovars, one man and one woman, were arrested on suspicion of planning “terrorist attacks” against NATO forces in Kosovo, but also against the population in France and Belgium. The two suspects have planned “suicide bombings with car bombs” against NATO force soldiers in Kosovo (KFOR) and in “places frequented by citizens”, according to a statement from a Pristina court.
They also planned to commit “suicide attacks in places frequented by citizens, in Belgium and France,” the source said. Neither the identity of the suspects, arrested on Tuesday, nor their motivation, were revealed. One of the suspects also has Belgian citizenship. They were remanded for one month in accordance with Kosovar law.
According to Kosovo’s official estimates, some 300 Kosovars have fought since 2012 in the ranks of the al-Nusra Front or ISIS, mainly in Syria. More than 50 have been killed, but 130 have returned home. “In proportion to its population of 1.8 million, Kosovo is probably the most important source of jihadists in Syria and Iraq”, summed up in 2015, the American think tank Combating Terrorism Center, the academy West Point Military.
Eight Islamists were sentenced in May by a court in Kosovo to up to 10 years in prison for planning an attack against the Israeli football team and its supporters in 2016 before a match in Albania. Most of them are Kosovo Albanians, except one who is an Albanian from Macedonia. They had also planned to carry out attacks in Kosovo against political leaders of that country and diplomats. About 90% of Kosovo’s 1.8 million people are Muslim, the overwhelming majority of whom practice moderate Islam