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4 Bosnian Muslims convicted of plotting terror attacks in Europe

January 14, 2007 10:32 AM

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina-Four men were convicted Wednesday of plotting to blow up an unidentified European target and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, court officials said.

Prosecutors said the four men, two Bosnians, a Swede and a Turkish citizen, were preparing to launch a terror attack a European country to force to pull foreign troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. The exact target of the plot remains unclear.

Police found a "suicide belt" rigged with a powerful homemade explosive device; pistols; ammunition and a videotape outlining how to build a bomb when they raided a Sarajevo apartment in late 2005, prosecutors said.

Mirsad Bektasevic, 19, a Swedish citizen, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, and Abdulkadir Cesur, 18, a Turk who had been living in Denmark, was sentenced to 13 years for planning a terrorist act, court officials said.

Bajro Ikanovic, 30, was sentenced to eight years for supplying them with explosives. The fourth defendant, Senad Hasanovic, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years for illegal possession of weapons and explosives. Both are Bosnian citizens.

A fifth suspect, Bosnian Amir Bajric, pleaded guilty in May and was sentenced in July to two years in prison for helping the group to purchase explosives.

The five were arrested in late 2005 following the raid on an apartment rented by Bektasevic and Cesur.

The suspects traveled to Bosnia "with the aim to commit a terrorist act on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina or some other European country" to force countries to pull their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, prosecutor Ahmet Halebic said during a May hearing at Bosnia's State Court.

The videotape included a voiceover saying: "Brothers are preparing for an attack here. They are showing you the things they will use in the attack. ... These brothers will attack ... those who are killing our brothers and Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The voiceover said the attack was aimed against Europe.

Investigators have not yet managed to find out which country the men were plotting to attack and could only specify that it was a European country with soldiers were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Authorities in Denmark, Sweden, Bosnia and Britain have been cooperating in the investigation, officials said.

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