40 held over suspected links to Syria, Iraq wars

PRISTINA – Kosovo police have arrested 40 men suspected of fighting in Syria and Iraq along organizations such as Islamic State and Al Nusra.

The police, who raided nearly 60 locations across the country, said in a statement on Monday they had confiscated explosives, guns and ammunition during the swoops.

The President of the Republic of Kosovo, Atifete Jahjaga, said: “Kosovo will never become an exporter of extremism and terrorism will not be transformed into a base for such elements."

Outgoing Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said: “We are determined to stop this evil and will continue with such operations.”

According to a new law passed by the Kosovo parliament in March, a person who participates in wars outside of Kosovo can be sentenced up to 15 years in prison, in a move aimed at preventing volunteers from Kosovo joining in wars in Iraq and Syria.

The Islamic Community of Kosovo, the most prominent organization of Muslims in Kosovo, said it supported the police operation as a “needed measure for the safety and security of the country”.

The police have said that 16 people from Kosovo have been declared dead in Syria and Iraq, while local media reports say nearly 200 Kosovans have gone to the wars.

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