Balkans terrorism plot

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2016 Balkans terrorism plot
Date12 November 2016 (2016-11-12)
Targetinternational and state institutions in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia
Attack type
Terror plot
No. of participants

Simultaneous attacks planned in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia were thwarted in November 2016.[1] Nineteen people were arrested in Kosovo, and six more in Albania and Macedonia, for a total of twenty five arrests, making it one of the largest terror-related arrests in Europe in recent years.[2] Explosives, weapons, electronic equipment, and material related to extremist religious groups were seized during the raids following the arrests.[3][needs update]

The suspects, planning "synchronized terror attacks," were receiving orders from Islamic State member Lavdrim Muhaxheri.[4] Between 4 and 16 November 2016, eighteen Kosovo Albanians and one Macedonian Albanian were arrested suspected of planning terrorist attacks in Kosovo and Albania. They were coordinated by Muhaxheri and fellow IS fighter Ridvan Haqifi. According to the prosecution, the terrorist group planned attacks on international and state institutions, ultimately with the intent to establish an Islamic state. They planned to attack the Israeli football team during a match in Albania. Media reports state that Kosovo government institutions and Serbian Orthodox Church sites were potential targets.[5] Among the planned targets were the Israel national football team and their supporters during the Albania–Israel World Cup qualifying match.[6][7]

In February 2017, Albania announced that it would join the counter-Islamic State efforts, and send troops to Iraq. Although it was not officially confirmed by the Albanian authorities, it is largely believed[by whom?] that this first active involvement of Albania in the fighting against ISIS in Iraq was triggered by the failed terror attack on Albanian soil three months earlier.[8][9][10]


  1. ^ Stanglin, Doug (17 November 2016). "Kosovo thwarts 'synchronized' Islamic State terror attacks". News. USA Today.
  2. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (17 November 2016). "Isis attack on Israeli football team foiled by police at World Cup qualifier in Albania". World News. The Independent.
  3. ^ Veselinovic, Milena (17 November 2016). "ISIS attack on Israeli soccer team thwarted, Kosovo police say". Europe. CNN.
  4. ^ Homeland Security Committee (December 2016). Terror Threat Snapshot (PDF) (Report). The United States House of Representatives.
  5. ^ "Lavdrim Muhaxheri, ISIS Warrior, Remains Threat to Kosovo". Balkan Insight. 18 November 2016.
  6. ^ "ISIS Attack on Israeli National Soccer Team Foiled: Kosovo Cops". ISIS Terror. NBC News. 17 November 2016.
  7. ^ Squires, Nick (30 March 2017). "Italian police break up alleged jihadist cell that planned to attack Venice's Rialto Bridge". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  8. ^ "ISIS target World Cup qualifier: European country reacts with fury to bomb and drone plot". WorldAlert. 1 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Albanian Defense Minister announces initiative to deploy troops to Iraq". NRT News. 1 March 2017.
  10. ^ "ISIS target World Cup qualifier: European country reacts with fury to bomb and drone plot". News. Daily Star. 1 March 2017.