BREAKING NEWS
This content is not available in your region

Police in North Macedonia arrest eight members of 'terrorist organisation'

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews with AP
HANDOUT - NORTH MACEDONIAN POLICE
HANDOUT - NORTH MACEDONIAN POLICE   -   Copyright  МИНИСТЕРСТВО ЗА ВНАТРЕШНИ РАБОТИ
Text size Aa Aa

Police in North Macedonia have arrested eight men on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks in the country.

Authorities detained the suspects on Sunday after carrying out searches in Kumanovo and Skopje. They also seized a large number of weapons.

The suspects are all aged between 21 and 32 years old, while one had a previous conviction of participation in the Islamic State group outside of North Macedonia.

The men have been charged with creating a terrorist organisation and face a prison sentence of up to 10 years if convicted.

The eight were arrested on suspicion of "creating a terrorist organisation, based on the ideological matrix of the terrorist organisation ISIS, for committing murders and destroying public buildings" and with the aim of creating fear or insecurity among the public, police said.

No specific targets in North Macedonia were mentioned.

Police said all the weapons and "mine explosives" were seized during raids on Sunday at eight locations in the country's north.

The arrested men are accused of procuring weapons, ammunition, and military equipment that they hid by a village road near the town of Kumanovo.

They are also suspected of performing test launches and activating improvised explosive devices in preparation for an attack.

The group allegedly communicated plans for transporting weapons and the making of suicide vests on WhatsApp, authorities added.

The arrests were made after a joint investigation by public prosecutors and North Macedonia's Department for the Suppression of Organised and Serious Crime.

Authorities said the suspects belong to the same group as three others who were arrested in September on suspicion of storing a large quantity of ammunition, mines, and explosives near Kumanovo.

"We have found evidence which indicated that they were in direct communication (with those newly arrested)," said Toni Angelovski, North Macedonian Police spokesman.

"And they had a joint agreement on planned activities as members of a terrorist organisation."