Two Albanians with ISIS ties arrested for planning attacks in Macedonia

The Interior Ministry informed that two persons aged 23 and 24 were arrested a week ago over information that they were preparing acts of terror on Macedonian territory. The two were in contact with former fighters in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

"As part of a wider regional operative action aimed at fighting terrorism, the Interior Ministry conducted searches at two sites, in Skopje and in Aracinovo on November 4th. During the search, one 24 year old person from Aracinovo was detained, and the other was detained in Kosovo. Their goals was carrying out terrorist acts in Macedonia. The intentions of this structure were foiled with timely acquired intelligence information", said Mitko Cavkov, head of the Bureau for Public Security.

During the raids, police took away computers and phones from the two persons. It's estimated that over 150 Macedonian citizens have went to fight in the Middle East, joining Islamist groups, and that dozens of them were killed, while some are returning to the country. In the summer of 2015, Macedonian police detained 9 suspected Islamists and filed charges against dozens more, many of whom are in the Middle East. As other countries in the region, Macedonia passed laws making it a crime to fight in a foreign war or conflict.

Recently, Kosovo and Albania police also held raids against recruitment and radicalization groups. It is believed that these groups operate mainly among ethnic Albanian and other Muslim communities in the region, and work across border lines.