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Kosovo Police Prevented Potential Terrorist Attacks


Albanian police line up in front of Elbasan Arena stadium ahead of Albania's World Cup 2018 qualifying soccer match against Israel under tight security measures in Elbasan, 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Tirana, Nov. 12, 2016. Police took extreme steps after media reports that an alleged terror group, arrested in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia, planned an attack during the match. The venue was changed for "security reasons."

Kosovo authorities report they have averted potential attacks by the Islamic State group. Police said they found weapons, electronic equipment, and explosive devices.

Police said they arrested 19 people in Kosovo and six more in Albania and Macedonia, adding they also found "religious material and literature from well-known authors recognized for their extremist ideology."

One of the attacks allegedly was to have targeted the Israeli national soccer team, which played a World Cup qualifier in neighboring Albania.

The attacks were supposed to be “synchronized." Police did not share any other specific detail.

Authorities said two Albanians, said to be affiliated to the IS terror group in Syria, coordinated the plans taking place in the three regions and “had clear targets on who and when should be attacked.”

Albania moved the November 12 World Cup European qualifying game with Israel to a venue near the capital Tirana due to “security reasons.” It was previously set to take place in the northern city of Shkoder.

The game went on as planned and the Israeli time won the match 3-0.

In recent years, Kosovo investigators have detained about 200 people over alleged links to the Islamic State group.

According to reports, about 300 Kosovars traveled to Syria to fight alongside IS troops and at least 50 were killed there.

But Kosovo and Albanian officials say they have no reports that any citizen has joined rebels groups in Syria and Iraq for more than a year.

Buit the EU police mission and NATO say they have concerns about those returning from Syria as they remain active and “could pose a security threat.”