Bosnia Accuses Croatia of Plot to Brand It a Terrorist Haven – News

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The fragile relations between two former Yugoslav republics took a bitter and weird activate Thursday as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s safety minister accused Croatia of concocting a plot meant to falsely paint Bosnia as a terrorist hotbed.

The safety minister, Dragan Mektic, accused Croatia’s intelligence service of attempting to coerce a Bosnian citizen into transporting weapons and explosives to a mosque inside Bosnia.

If the weapons had been then found, Mr. Mektic mentioned in an interview with The New York Instances, the cache might be portrayed as a part of a terrorist plot.

High Croatian officers referred to as the allegations groundless, saying they had been an effort to break ties between the 2 international locations.

The dispute comes as Muslim-majority Bosnia has accused Croatia for a few yr of interfering in its inside affairs. It has mentioned that Croatia is attempting to wrest elevated political affect for the Croatian ethnic group in Bosnia. Croatia’s final hope, some in Bosnia have alleged, is the formation of a separate Croatian entity inside Bosnia.

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Bosnia’s accusations of a plot to tarnish its repute had been first reported on Wednesday by a Bosnian investigative outlet, Zurnal. The publication mentioned {that a} Bosnian man who lives within the European Union was intercepted when crossing the Croatian border by the nation’s Safety and Intelligence Company.

Over time, the company used the person’s help of teams related to Salafism, a puritanical pressure of Islam, to strain him to take the weapons and explosives to a mosque within the neighborhood of Zenica, a city northwest of Sarajevo. His help of Salifist causes, if identified within the European Union nation the place he lives, would elevate alarms.

It’s not identified when the person was intercepted by the Croats or how far the plot progressed.

The motivation of the Croatian safety service, Mr. Mektic mentioned within the interview with The Instances, was to current Bosnia as a “nation of terrorists and terrorist camps, and a menace to regional safety.”

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“They dug into his previous and blackmailed him into doing this,” Mr. Mektic mentioned. “This citizen was employed in a European Union nation, they usually threatened to trigger issues for him there.”

The Croatian prime minister, president and Ministry of Overseas Affairs mentioned they “categorically dismissed these statements and allegations made by Dragan Mektic.”

“The totally groundless and completely tendentious statements are clearly geared toward questioning the profitable cooperation between the 2 international locations,” the international ministry mentioned in a information launch.

However these ties have been strained by earlier Croatian efforts to hyperlink Bosnia to terrorism. Greater than a yr in the past, the Croatian president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, prompted outrage in Bosnia and Herzegovina by claiming that “a number of thousand terrorists” can be returning there after the autumn of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate.

Individuals in Bosnia believed they had been being scapegoated due to their faith.

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Native information retailers have reported that not less than 200 males and round 70 ladies left Bosnia and Herzegovina for the Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria and Iraq.

Bosnia was one of many first European international locations to declare that it will settle for its nationals who had fought for the Islamic State and are presently held in Kurdish-run camps in northern Syria.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is held collectively by a fragile peace settlement struck on the finish of the battle in 1995, a part of the breakup of Yugoslavia. The pact defines the political roles of the three primary ethnic teams, Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats and Orthodox Serbs.

Croatia, a member of the European Union, holds a sure stage of affect over the previous Yugoslav international locations like Bosnia which might be within the ready line to affix the bloc.

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