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The arrest of terrorists from Macedonia who fought in Syria and Iraq: Islamist returnees are a threat to everyone (PHOTO)

A number of terrorists from Macedonia who fought in Syria and Iraq were killed there. So far, the deaths of at least 17 Macedonian Albanians have been confirmed

In a major anti-terrorist campaign, "Cell", Macedonian police, in cooperation with partners of the Global Coalition for the Fight against Terrorism and Syrian Democrats, arrested seven Macedonian citizens who fought in Syria and Iraq.

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Handcuffs were placed on the hands of S.R. (28), Dz. A. (25), B.F. (24), O. Z. (31), E.O. (24), I.S. (41) and A.M. (23), but the police didn't state from which cities of Macedonia they are from.

- Within the framework of the Global Counter-Terrorism Coalition, Macedonia continues its activities in the direction of detection, identification, neutralization, and prosecution of its citizens, as well as foreign terrorist fighters who participated in the fights of Syria and Iraq, and then returned to the country of origin - they stated from the Internal Ministry.

The current arrest of seven Macedonian citizens fighting on the side of jihadists is a continuation of the previous two anti-terrorist campaigns "Cell 1" (August 2015) and "Cell 2" (July 2016).

Foto: MUP Republike Makedonije

11 people were arrested and charged in the first police action "Cell". They were charged that they recruited and sent Macedonian citizens from October 2014 to the mid-2015 to participate in the paramilitary units in Syria and on the Middle East.

The highest sentence of 7 years in prison went to Imam of the mosque in Skopje, Redzep Memisi. He confessed that he was a main organizer and ideologist of the jihadist cell through which at least 130 Macedonian citizens went to fight on the side of the Islamic state and Al Qaeda in Syria and Iraq.

The transfer of jihadists to the war zones in these countries most often went through Turkey, and the volunteers had false documents that were given to them in Skopje. Among the convicts was also the then State Councilor in the Macedonian Government, Ahmet Darlista, as well as a Macedonian physician by profession, Stefan Stefanovski, who changed his religion and went to Islam.

Foto: MUP Republike Makedonije

Another group of supporters of the Islamic state was arrested in an anti-terrorist operation, "Cell 2" in July 2016. Four people were locked up - Bunjamin Gashi (23), Faruk Izeirau (31), Ergin Usein (36) and Mustafa Mametiu (38) from Tetovo. There was operational information for Sefet Ramadanija of Skopje and Sulejman Idrizija from Kumanovo that they are still in Syria and that Burhan Sefer, from the village of Aracinovo, was hiding somewhere in Skopje.

They all went through military-terrorist training in Syria, and according to analysts, after returning to the country they pose a very serious threat to Macedonia, but also to the countries of the region.

A number of terrorists from Macedonia who fought in Syria and Iraq were killed there. So far, the deaths of at least 17 Macedonian Albanians have been confirmed.

In September 2014, a new criminal offense was introduced in Macedonia - involvement in foreign military or paramilitary formations, for which a sentence ranging from 4 to 20 years in prison is envisaged.

- In line with the national strategy for the prevention of violent extremism and the fight against terrorism, Macedonia is implementing a program of deradicalization of foreign terrorist fighters in prisons, they undertake activities to increase awareness of risks and threats from terrorism and they strengthen mechanisms for preventing radicalization at the local level - announcement from Internal ministry.

Foto: MUP Republike Makedonije

Despite all efforts to "re-educate" the arrested and convicted supporters of the Islamic State, the professor at the University of Security in Skopje, Vladimir Pivovarov thinks that they still pose a "time bomb" because they are almost impossible to resocialize, and hence he asks "what to do with them".

VIDEO: The successful action of Macedonian police against terrorism 

(Telegraf.co.uk / D.J.)

Tags: arrest, Balkan news, Daily news, East Europe, Iraq, Islam, Islamists, Jihadists, Macedonia, Police, prison, Region, sentence, Syria, Terrorists