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Video of Macedonia raids: Terror prevented, explosives and Islamic State flags found

A large amount of weapons has been seized in the police operation

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Makedonija, hapšenje terorista, teroristički napad

Photo: North Macedonia Interior Ministry

The police in North Macedonia announced today that they have arrested three men on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks and seized a large amount of weapons during raids on five locations in the north of the country.

B.A. (28) from Kumanovo, who resides in Skopje, and V.A. (22) and E.L. (25) from Kumanovo have been arrested.

The police said the suspects have previous convictions for membership in the Islamic State extremist group and had served prison sentences upon their return from the Middle East.

They were arrested on suspicion of creating and participating in a criminal cell, based on the ideological matrix of the terrorist organization Islamic State, with the intention of committing terrorists act against targets in the territory of North Macedonia, the police said.

No concrete targets have been cited.

The three suspects are accused of terrorism and forming a terrorist organization.

It is believed that early last year B.A. created a terrorist organization which V.A., E.L. and several others joined, with whom he formed a "cell" based on the ideological matrix of the well-known terrorist organization ISIS, with the intention of committing terrorist acts against targets in the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia.

To achieve that goal, members of the group secured financial resources and procured a large amount of weapons, ammunition and military equipment, which they hid and stored near a local road in the village of Biljanovce, but also in other locations where the suspects were staying.

The police seized vests and explosive belts, five automatic rifles, a machine gun, 18 automatic rifle frames with 30 bullets each, a frame with 15 bullets, three wooden rifle butts, a wooden rifle butt with a firing mechanism, as well as three hand-held missile launchers with the inscription RD 40 mm, and five launchers with fuses.

Among other things, camouflage hats and caps, as well as camouflage gloves and flak vests, and the flag of Islamic State were found in the crates.

If convicted on both grounds, the suspects will face up to 15 years in prison.

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