Kosovo charges nine men with plotting attacks at Albania-Israeli World Cup match

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Kosovo charged nine Kosovan men with planning attacks at a World Cup soccer match in Albania against an Israeli team and its fans last November, the prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

Last year, Kosovar police arrested 19 people on suspicion that they had links with the Islamic State militant group and were planning attacks in Kosovo and in neighboring Albania.

At the time, fearing such attacks, Albanian authorities had moved the Nov. 12 qualifier to a venue near the capital Tirana from a stadium in the northern town of Shkoder.

The state prosecutor said some of the men were in contact with Lavdrim Muhaxheri, a prominent Islamic State member and the self-declared “commander of Albanians in Syria and Iraq” from whom they received orders to attack.

Muhaxheri was killed in Syria, police and his family told Reuters last week.

The group was also planning to launch attacks inside Kosovo against local and international institutions and buy weapons with money received from Muhaxheri, the prosecutor said.

Kosovo, with a majority ethnic Albanian Muslim population, has had no militant attacks on its home turf, but at least 200 people have been detained or investigated over offences related to Islamic State.

In 2015, it adopted a law introducing jail sentences of up to 15 years for anyone found guilty of fighting in wars abroad.advergear

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