North Macedonia claims it prevented attack by Islamic State supporters

NEWS 16.02.2019 11:38
Source: AFP/Dimitar Dilkoff

Police in North Macedonia raided several locations on Friday to prevent a potential attack organised by the supporters of the Islamic State, the country's interior ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The ministry said it launched the operation after exchanging information with a “partner country” without identifying the country.

Items and devices linked to a possible attack were seized, the ministry said, without giving further details.

The US Embassy in Skopje also issued a security alert to its citizens travelling to North Macedonia on Friday warning of “a heightened risk of terrorist attacks inspired by extremist ideology in North Macedonia.”

“The majority of North Macedonia's 2 million population is Orthodox Christian, with Muslims accounting for around 35 percent of the total population.

Authorities in the former Yugoslav republic estimate as many as 130 of its citizens have fought or are currently fighting alongside Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq.

In 2016 a court sentenced six people, including an imam, to up to seven years in prison each for joining the fight or recruiting others,” says Reuters, recalling that last week North Macedonia signed a protocol on accession to NATO and is expected to become its 30th member state once the document is ratified by all member states.