Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
He walked along the street of the town of Novi Pazar wearing a weighty backpack. The police thought that this was suspicious. They called the young guy, he became considerably nervous. It turned out that in his backpack there was a rifle with a sniper scope. Representatives of the Serbian special services immediately arrived at the scene – on the eve of the visit of the Russian president they were on duty in a strengthened regime.
During a search of the apartment of the detained Armin Alibasic a mini-laboratory for the production of improvised explosive devices was found. Various chemical ingredients, timing mechanisms that can be used to assemble a land mine, wires, detonators, devices for remote detonation, and telephones for them – the simple set of a “young chemist”. All doubts were dispelled when a flag of ISIS and propaganda literature with Islamic State leaflets was found.
“It is known that Putin is a target of terrorists because of the war that Russia declared on international terrorism,” reports the Serbian media with reference to the local Security Intelligence Agency. “This does not exclude the possibility that the bomb assembled by Alibasic could’ve been used close to the day of the arrival of the President of Russia. But our services in cooperation with the Russian colleagues keep everything under control, and Vladimir Putin in Belgrade will be in full security”.
The news itself about an attempt to assassinate Putin in Serbia looks exotic, because the figure of the President of Russia in this country can compete with the famous tennis player Novak Djokovic in terms of popularity. Belgrade loves and respects the Russian leader. However, Armin Alibasic is not a Serb. He is a Bosniak (a Slav who converted to Islam during Turkish occupation). Here faith defines nationality because of local clashes. And although he is a citizen of Serbia too, he positions himself as an ethnic Muslim. At the same time, the Security Intelligence Agency affirms that Alibasic is an adherent of a radical movement in Islam that is well known to us as Wahhabism.
“Actually, guy very strange,” said the Serbian journalist Veljko Milanković to KP. “When he was detained he had an air rifle and a knife on him. At his home different precursors were indeed found. But it seems that he did not have enough time to assemble a bomb and bring it all the way to Belgrade (about 300km). Unless before this he made another explosive device and transferred it to someone.”
Were there similar precedents earlier here?
“250,000 Muslims from the 7 million population live in Serbia. There was never any terrorist attack with an Islamic trace here, because the intelligence agencies have faced Muslim terror for more than 30 years. And they have the experience of suppressing any feeble efforts at the very first stage. Here they work maximally effectively. But in general the problem of ISIS in the Balkans exists owing to the presence of Kosovo and Bosnia with a large number of Muslims. There are cells of Islamic State, radical mosques, and centers of recruitment here.”
I saw Albanian inscriptions in Syria in the liberated cities…
“Yes. 400 people left Kosovo for ISIS, Bosnia – 120. From Serbia, from the region of Sandžak, which is densely populated with Muslims – 30 people. By the way, Novi Pazar, where Alibasic was detained, is the administrative center of Sandžak. But the main base for ISIS is still Bosnia. There the leadership of the Muslim part of the country is still connected with external Islamic radicals. Many of them are Afghans, Arabs – they settled there after the war. The Bosnian trace is present in all large terrorist attacks – on September 11th, the explosion in the London subway, the explosion on the electric train in Madrid… By the way, today a video was published in which it is said that Bosnia can assemble 10,000 Mujahideens for war in Europe. And this is a serious problem for the region. But, I will repeat, Serbia here favourably distinguishes itself by its clearly established work with an agent network.”
Meanwhile, the Serbian special services are checking the contacts of the detained Wahhabite, assuming that if an attempt to assassinate the Russian president is being prepared, he could have accomplices.
*Balkan Slavs who converted to Islam while in the Ottoman Empire.
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