Jihadists Find Convenient Base in Bosnia
By Sherrie Gossett
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
August 17, 2005
(CNSNews.com) - Terrorists who previously targeted the U.S. are now in Bosnia, where they have access to a "one-stop shop" of jihad training camps, weapons and illegal Islamic "charities" -- all at the doorstep of Europe, terrorism experts said.
"[Convicted terrorist] Karim Said Atmani recently returned to Bosnia after being released early from French prison for 'good behavior,'" terrorism expert and author Evan Kohlmann said.
Atmani, a Moroccan, was linked to the "millennium bomb plot" and convicted by a French court of colluding with Osama bin Laden. He has been linked to the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), an organization responsible for airplane hijackings and subway bombings in France.
"This is very disturbing," said Kohlmann. "Atmani promised he would wage jihad until the end. That doesn't mean until a plea deal, or early release; it means until death or victory."
Also finding haven in Bosnia is Abu el Maali, who like Atmani, was a foreign national who fought in the Bosnia war. El Maali was later accused by French authorities of attempting to smuggle explosives in 1998 to an Egyptian terrorist group plotting to destroy U.S. military installations in Germany. He was also accused of leading terrorist cells in Bosnia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"This activity is very significant," said Kohlmann. "Senior members of the former Muslim Brigade and their top commanders are still there, and they're still active."
The Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHF), a charity that was later found by the U.S. Treasury to be underwriting terrorist operations including al Qaeda, shut its offices in Bosnia after the U.S. announcement but reopened under the name "Vazir." The new organization was registered as an "association for sport, culture and education."
In 2002, the U.S. Treasury Department reported that the Bosnia office of Al-Haramain was linked to Al-Gama'at al-Islamiyya, an Egyptian terrorist group that was a signatory to bin Laden's Feb. 23, 1998, fatwa -- or religious edict -- against the United States.
Cybercast News Service viewed videotape shot by Kohlmann of activity at the former Sarajevo offices of Al-Haramain. "All they did was white-out the old sign," said Kohlmann.
Cybercast News Service has also obtained a video that terrorism analysts say depicts an active jihad training camp in Bosnia-Herzegovina, a region previously described by analysts as an ideal gateway for terror missions into Europe. See Video
The video, which is over four minutes in length, shows outdoor maneuvers, explosives training and training inside what appears to be a school gym. Exercises in hostage-taking are also shown......
I'm so glad Bill fixed Bosnia. Don't we all feel so much safer now?