THE BOSNIAN 2008 PLOT
On 03/20/2008 Bosnia arrest five suspected of plotting to attack Catholic and EUFOR (EU led peace force to Bosnia since 2004) objects during the Easter holidays. The Bosnian police seized anti-tank mines, laser sights, electronic equipment, topographic maps and bomb-making manuals. The ongoing investigation shows so far that the group involved in the alleged plot is connected with earlier terrorism-related arrests in the country, and that the network extends to Western European capitals.
The five suspects are: Rijad Rustempasic, the ringleader, Muhamed Meco, Abdulah Handzic (1) and Edis Velic (2), born in 1979, all in their early thirties and from Sarajevo, along with Muhamed Ficer, Rustempasic’s brother-in-law 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.
During the Bosnian 1992-1995 war, Rijad Rustempasic, originally from Bugojno in central Bosnia, was a member of the 7 Mujahideen Brigade. Police source said it was during that period that Rijad Rustempasic developed his bomb-making skills.
Federal police suspect that Rijad Rustempasic (pic) was responsible for mining the tower of the Catholic Church in the village of Humci, near Bugojno, in 07/1996. No suspects were ever arrested in connection with the attack. Police also suspect that Rijad Rustempasic was behind numerous threats against Bosnian Croat returnees to Bugojno and other central Bosnian cities.
In 2004, Rijad Rustempasic was arrested by NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) troops in Bosnia for illegal possession of weapons and suspicion of terrorist-related activities. The international forces had found nearly five kilograms of explosives in his possession. He was sentenced to five months parole, during which time he relocated to Sarajevo.
However, after three months spent in custody, the Prosecutor’s Office failed to win a terrorism indictment against them due to lack of evidence, and all members of the alleged group were released.
Rijad Rustempasic’s sources of explosives were old mines and money from sources in Western Europe, mainly Germany and Austria. The contact for that matter was Muhamed Rustempasic, Rijad’s twin brother, who lived at the time in Austria and is married to a German citizen.
Muhamed Rustempasic who has prior convictions for manslaughter and robbery was arrested on 09/28/2009, after a visit to Bosnia, when he tried to leave for Austria. The Prosecutor’s Office in Bosnia has reliable information that Muhamed sent 10 laser sights in March 2008, through his contact Edis Strojil, who is also wanted by the authorities but whose whereabouts are currently unknown. Muhamed Rustempasic was eventually sentenced to 60 days in Jail.
On 11/05/2009 The Bosnian police rearrested Rijad Rustempasic, Abdulah Handzic and Edis Velic. Rijad Rustempasic and his group have been linked with another group of suspected terrorists in Bosnia, also members of the Wahhabi sect, currently being tried for an attack on the police station in Bugojno in 06/2010, led by Naser Palislamovic the brother-in-law of Rijad Rustempasic, in which one police officer was killed and another seriously injured.
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