SARAJEVO: Police special forces carried out a raid Thursday in a Bosnian village home to Muslim fundamentalists, after media published photos of local houses displaying the flag of the Islamic State group.
By the time forces arrived “the flags were no longer hanging” in the northeastern village of Gornja Maoca, said Kristina Jozic, a spokeswoman for state police agency SIPA.
Local television station FTV had on Wednesday broadcast photos showing the black and white flags of the IS jihadists hanging from the roof of a house, saying the images were taken in Gornja Maoca.
The isolated village lies close to the town of Brcko. Controlled by a local movement that adheres to the strict Wahhabi branch of Islam, it has been targeted in numerous police operations in recent years.
The last major operation in the area was in early 2012 after a Serbian national with ties to the local Islamist movement opened fire on the US embassy in Sarajevo in October 2011.
Bosnian officials also carried out several raids at the end of 2014 against local Wahhabis, leading to the arrest of 26 people suspected of being members of IS or other jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, or of having recruited fighters in Bosnia.
Only one of the suspects was detained and charged with “terrorism”: Husein Bosnic dit Bilal, considered a leader in radical Muslim circles in Bosnia.
According to estimates by Bosnian intelligence cited by local media, some 150 Bosnian fighters are currently fighting in Iraq or Syria, with around 20 killed. Some 50 other jihadists are believed to have returned to Bosnia.