Huge quantities of weapons and explosives
Bosnia: Al-Qaeda smuggling weapons into Croatia, paper claims
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Banjaluka, 21 May (AKI) – Al-Qaeda and the Muslim fundamentalist Wahabi movement’s operatives have been smuggling weapons and explosives into neighbouring Croatia, Bosnian daily Nezavisne novine reported on Wednesday.
Quoting Bosnian security sources, the paper said huge quantities of weapons and explosives have been smuggled into the areas of Croatia with sizeable Muslim population in recent months.
The weapons were shipped to the Croatian capital Zagreb, nearby Karlovac and the Adriatic port of Split, according to a document from the Bosnian security agency, quoted by the paper.
The document said the operation has been masterminded by Bosnian Muslims Vladimir Popilovski, Kemal Alagic, Semsudin Mehmedovic, Naser Panaslamovic and Omer Murselovic.
No arrests have been made in connection with the allegation of weapons smuggling to Croatia, which is an official candidate for EU membership and hopes to join the bloc by 2010.
Mehemedovic, a former police chief in the eastern Bosnian town of Zenica, was acquitted of issuing false documents to the members of the so called ‘Algerian group’ of suspected terrorists, some of whom are being held in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The alleged Islamist militants “believe that Croatia will soon become a member of the EU,” the paper quoted the Bosnian security document as saying.
This “will create favorable conditions to distribute weapons and explosives for terrorist acts throughout Europe due to the openness of borders,” the document added.
Al-Qaeda is believed to have maintained ‘dormant cells’ in Bosnia since the 1992-1995 civil war, when thousands of mujahadeen - fighters from Muslim countries - came to fight on the side of local Muslims.
Many mujahadeen remained in the country after the war and have reportedly been indoctrinating the local Muslim population and even operating terrorist training camps.
Darko Trifunovic, a Serbian expert on terrorism, says al-Qaeda has been changing tactics. For its operations in Europe, the terror network has increasingly using local white youths or ‘white al-Qaeda’, according to Trifunovic.