Kosovo Arrests Two Suspected Of Planning Attacks On NATO Troops, Public

Kosovo has arrested two people suspected of planning attacks on NATO troops and the public in Kosovo, Belgium, and France, the state prosecutor says.

The prosecutor's office said in a statement late on June 8 that the pair, a man and a woman, spoke by telephone of preparing "terrorist attacks" and "suicide attacks with explosives in a car" against NATO-led Kosovo Forces as well as in places "frequented by citizens."

The suspects were taken into custody on June 6, prosecutors said.

The man, identified only as a 26-year-old Belgian national, was living with the woman, identified as a 25-year-old residing near the capital, Pristina. Prosecutors said the man was also preparing suicide attacks in public places in Belgium and France.

"My client is suspected of preparing to commit terrorism acts...but I don’t agree with the prosecution, because they have not offered any evidence to detain him," said the man's attorney, Arber Rexha.

A senior police officer told Reuters that police recorded telephone conversations in which the suspect discussed planning attacks. The officer added that the probe had been expanded and more suspects were being investigated.

The NATO mission in Kosovo said this was an issue for the police.

NATO has some 4,500 soldiers in Kosovo helping to keep a fragile peace. The European Union and the United Nations also have security and diplomatic missions there.

About 300 Kosovo nationals went to Syria to fight for the Islamic State extremist group and more than 50 were killed there, according to Kosovar authorities, but they say 130 have returned to Kosovo and may pose security threats.

In May, a Kosovo court jailed eight men for plotting to attack the Israeli national soccer team in Albania in a World Cup qualifying match in 2016.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters