Eight Kosovars jailed after foiled attack on Israeli football team

(L/R): Kenan Plakaj, Arton Ahmeti and Leutrim Musliu are among eight Kosovars jailed for planning to carry out a terrorist attack on the Israeli football team and fans in Albania where a qualifying match for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, against the national team, was due to take place. (AFP)
Updated 18 May 2018
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Eight Kosovars jailed after foiled attack on Israeli football team

  • The plan was thwarted when Kosovo police got wind of the plot and tipped off Albanian authorities who moved the game from a stadium in Shkoder, near the border with Kosovo, to a town closer to the Albanian capital, Tirana.
  • The prosecution said the group had planned to attack the Israeli team with explosives and automatic rifles.

PRISTINA, Kosovo: A Kosovo court has sentenced nine Kosovar Albanians, eight to jail, for planning a foiled attack against the Israeli football team during a 2016 qualifying World Cup match in neighboring Albania.
Pristina court Judge Hamdi Ibrahimi on Friday sentenced the leader of the group, Visar Ibishi, to 10 years in jail. Seven others got between 1-1/2 to 6 years imprisonment. One was slapped with a €2,500 ($2,950) fine.
The prosecution said the group had planned to attack the Israeli team with explosives and automatic rifles. Police found explosive devices, weapons, electronic equipment and extremist literature at their homes.
The plan was thwarted when Kosovo police got wind of the plot and tipped off Albanian authorities who moved the game from a stadium in Shkoder, near the border with Kosovo, to a town closer to the Albanian capital, Tirana.
The prosecution said some of the defendants received orders to carry out an attack from Lavdrim Muhaxheri, a prominent Daesh member from Kosovo and the self-declared “commander of Albanians in Syria and Iraq.”
Muhaxheri was killed in Syria, police and family members say. Kosovo authorities say about 180 citizens are still active with extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. In 2015, Kosovo adopted a law introducing jail sentences of up to 15 years for anyone found guilty of fighting in wars abroad. 


EU leaders’ decision on Brexit delay unlikely this week: Juncker

Updated 20 March 2019
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EU leaders’ decision on Brexit delay unlikely this week: Juncker

  • The delay, nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, leaves the Brexit divorce uncertain

BERLIN: European Union leaders are unlikely to agree at a summit this week on a delay to Britain’s departure, and will probably have to meet again next week, the head of the bloc’s executive branch said Wednesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to ask Brussels for a delay to Brexit, currently scheduled for March 29, ahead of the EU summit starting Thursday. Details remain unclear, but May’s troubles deepened when the speaker of the House of Commons ruled earlier this week that she can’t keep asking lawmakers to vote on the same divorce deal they have already rejected twice.

Britain’s political chaos is causing increasing exasperation among EU leaders. Asked by Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio what May would need to secure a delay this week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker replied that “she must bring approval of the negotiated deal and she must bring clear ideas on timing.”

“My impression is ... that this week at the European Council there will be no decision, but that we will probably have to meet again next week, because Mrs. May doesn’t have agreement to anything, either in her Cabinet or in Parliament,” Juncker added.

“As long as we don’t know what Britain could say yes to, we can’t reach a decision.”

A delay to Britain’s withdrawal would require the approval of all 27 remaining EU countries. Juncker said that “in all probability” Britain won’t leave on March 29, but underlined the EU’s insistence that it will not reopen the painstakingly negotiated withdrawal agreement that British lawmakers have snubbed.

“There will be no renegotiations, no new negotiations and no additional assurances on top of the additional assurances we have already given,” he said.

“We will keep talking to the British. We are not in a state of war with Britain, we are in a state of negotiations, but the negotiations are concluded.”