Kosovo fears terrorist attacks by returning IS militants

Kosovo fears terrorist attacks by returning IS militants
By bne IntelliNews November 14, 2017

The Kosovan government considers that terrorism remains one of the major threats to national and global security, threatening not only life and property but also democratic values, according to a recently released strategy document.

In per capita terms, Kosovo is the European country with the highest number of people who have joined various Islamist groups. Around 300 citizens of Kosovo, which is mainly populated by Muslims, have joined the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria since 2012. While around 70 have been killed, it is believed that many others are still in the conflict zone.

The strategic document entitled “National Strategy against Terrorism and Action Plan 2018-2022”, drafted by the interior ministry, is the third strategic document aimed at preventing and fighting terrorist acts.

Among the potential threats were mentioned “terrorist attacks by members of terrorist organisations through foreign terrorist fighters, dormant cells or by sympathisers and supporters who may be inspired to commit violent acts.”

Indoctrination and recruitment of young people, mainly using propaganda, for purposes of terrorist organisations is also seen as another threat.

The document says that an effective response to terrorism requires the involvement and cooperation of all public institutions, civil society, international organisations and citizens.

It also aims at combating extremist or radical ideologies of whatever nature, which may lead to the use of violence and at preventing terrorist activities and minimising the risk of terrorist threats.

The strategy is based on four pillars: prevention, protection, pursuing and responding.

The drafting of the strategy is fully aligned with the EU Counter Terrorism.

The Kosovan government drafted its first counter-terrorism strategy in 2009.

In 2015, Kosovo adopted a law setting penalties of up to 15 years in prison for fighting in foreign conflicts. 

In July 2016, a first-instance court in Pristina gave heavy prison sentences to five people accused of planning to pledge allegiance to IS.

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