BELGRADE – Kosovo police in the past 10 days have arrested 19 suspected Islamic State militants suspected of preparing an attack during a soccer match in neighboring Albania, police said on Thursday.
The group was planning terror attacks in Kosovo and against the national Israeli soccer team and fans, police said, as cited by Kosovo news site “Zeri.info.”
The terror plans, allegedly led by a man identified as L.M., included an attack during the World Cup 2018 qualifying round between Albania and Israel played on Nov. 12.
Albanian authorities moved the match from the city of Shkodër, northwestern Albania, to the central city of Elbasan over fears of a possible attack.
Israel won the match 3-0, amid heightened security involving over 2,000 police officers.
Of the 19 detainees, 18 were held in preventative detention.
All of the arrested were Kosovars, with the exception of a Macedonian national.
Kosovo police reportedly found 2.5 kilograms of explosives, among other weapons such as assault rifles, shotguns, pistols and munitions, as well as extremist literature.
In 2015, Kosovo – a former part of Serbia that was granted independence in 2008 – approved 15-year prison sentences for Kosovars caught fighting in a foreign conflicts.