Friday, April 11, 2008
TARGETING THE CHURCH
ISN Security Watch reports: “Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Federation Anti-Terror Unit on 20 March arrested five men: Rijad Rustempasic, Muhamed Meco, Abdulah Handzic and Edis Velic, all in their early thirties and from Sarajevo, along with Muhamed Ficer, from the central Bosnian city of Bugojno, who was released from custody after questioning.”The four arrested in Sarajevo were members of the local Wahhabi movement — the Saudi-based and financed order following a strict interpretation of Islam. Some of the suspects were already well known to the police for their radical activities. The group had been under surveillance for several months by the Federation Anti-Terror Unit and the State Prosecutor’s Office.
“Federation Anti-Terror Unit and the State Prosecutor’s Office have strong evidence that Rustempasic’s group was planning attacks on Catholic Churches and international forces within the country during the Easter holidays.” (LINK 1)
The ISN report includes several details that are hugely important:
1. the suspects were very well armed, having “anti-tank mines, laser sights, electronic equipment, topographic maps and bomb-making manuals”.
2. they were very well connected, “receiving financial and logistical support from Wahhabi figures in Western Europe”. ISN reports: “The dots begin to connect in a radical network that reaches from Bosnia across Western Europe”.
3. they were targeting hugely significant Catholic sites: Sarajevo’s central Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the 700-year-old Franciscan Monastery in Central Bosnian city of Fojnica. (For more details on the size and strategic value of these targets, see LINK 2)
4. while the key militant leader, Rustempasic, is reportedly one of the most notorious and violent Bosnian radical Muslims the police have ever investigated, he has managed to evade prison for years because he is tolerated by local authorities.
These details together indicate a serious and rising threat to Christian, particularly Catholic, institutions not only in Bosnia, but across Europe.