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Bosnia arrests suspected militants on way to Syria

Some suspects were arrested at Sarajevo airport, the others were stopped at border crossings

Published: Updated:

Bosnian police on Wednesday arrested six people on suspicion of planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group or organizing the trips, prosecutors said.

Bosnia’s prosecutor said in a statement the six were members of “radical religious movements” and that some were on their way to Syria where they intended to join ISIS forces.

Some suspects were arrested at Sarajevo airport. The others were stopped at border crossings in the northwestern region of Bihac and the northern town of Maglaj.

Bosnia’s intelligence services estimate that some 200 Bosnian citizens have joined the militant groups in Iraq or Syria, according to local media reports. Almost 30 of them were killed and around 40 are said to have returned to Bosnia.

Last year the Balkan state adopted a new law which anticipates sentences of up to 10-years for militants and their recruiters.

The first trial in which someone has been accused of recruiting militants to join ISIS opened in January.

A radical Muslim cleric, Husein Bosnic, considered a leader of Islamist movement in Bosnia, is charged with urging followers to leave for Syria and Iraq to fight with Islamic militants when he preached in several Bosnian towns in 2013 and 2014.

Bosnia’s Muslims make up 40 percent of the country’s 3.8 million inhabitants, and the vast majority practice a moderate form of Islam.