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THREAD Jihad in Bosnia
1) I traveled to the Islamic core of #Bosnia where in 1992-1995 hundreds of FFs joined El Mudžahid unit and fought along with Bosniaks, the first jihadist military presence in Europe. I also investigated the current Salafist scene @ISPI_Terrorism #terrorism
2) The industrial town of #Zenica was the main Muslim HQ in central Bosnia. Hundreds of Arab-Afghan veterans and new jihadists converged here to be later deployed to the frontline. 1995 military parade of the 7th Muslim Brigade linked to El Mudžahid in the presence of Izetbegović
3) Local population is extremely reluctant and annoyed to talk about wartime and follows a code of silence to avoid ethnic tensions. This makes it hard to visit remote villages or ask for details. Bosnian Muslims don’t want to be associated with jihadist #terrorism and war crimes
4) This hotel was an abandoned retirement home converted into the first jihadist HQ and training camp for FFs in #Bosnia located in the south east riverside of #Zenica not far from the HQ of the local 7th Muslim Brigade which embedded the El Mudžahid detachment under the 3rd Corp
5) Bosnian leader Alija #Izetbegović welcomed mujahideen but his military officers and even the mayor of Zenica considered them troublemakers detrimental to the Muslim cause. Afghan-Arab veterans from Al Sadda and Al Faruk training camp in #Afghanistan trained many local recruits
6) I visited the main mujahideen HQ and training camp: this building in the village of #Mehurići, today a primary school! It was under the command of senior #AlQaida recruiter Abdelrahman al-Dosari aka Abu Abdel Aziz "#Barbaros" (Saudi-Indian) who fought in Afghanistan with Azzam
7) Jihadist leadership in #Bosnia: top spiritual leaders Shaykh Anwar Shaaban (Egypt), later Shaykh Dr Abul Harith (Libya); first military Amir Abu Adbel Aziz Barbaros (Saudi-Indian), Wahiudeen al Masri (Egypt), Moataz Billah (Egypt), Abdelkader Mokhtari aka Abu el Māli (Algeria)
8) This Music School in #Zenica was a detention and torture facility where Croats were killed by the mujahideen and local soldiers or swapped for jihadist prisoners. In 2017 a memorial plaque was placed on the building reminding that, but shortly afterwards the police removed it.
9) El Mudžahid hierarchy especially in ’92-93 was very fluid and unclear. Some FFs were members of #AlQaida recruited by #BinLaden, others like the Syrian Imad al Husein aka Abu Hamza (who in 2013 declared to support Ahrar ash Sham) were sympathisers or comrades of Abdullah Azzam
10) In the Franciscan monastery of Guča Gora 200 Croats took shelter from the enemy and were later escorted out by UN troops. Arab jihadists vandalized the paintings in their iconoclastic fury and placed dynamite around the church but Bosnian soldiers persuaded them to remove it.
11) Here in Crni Vrh forest 3 Serbian soldiers from Teslić, Blagoje Blagojević, Nenad Petković, Branislav Djurić, were captured by mujahideen and beheaded. Couldn’t find the exact location due to minefields. Their heads were impaled at the Tešanj fortress, now tourist attraction.
12) In 1994 the main jihadist HQ in #Zenica was near the factory of Podbrezje. On 12 Dec 4 mujahideen died in the accidental explosion of a #VBIED van they were preparing for a terror attack against US targets in retaliation for the conviction of the blind sheikh Omar Abdelrahman
13) On 20 Oct 95 Canadian John Fawzan blew himself up in a Fiat car bomb in front of the Rijeka Police HQ in retaliation for the kidnapping of Talaat Fouad Qasim by Croats/CIA while on his way to Bosnia. Egyptian owner of the Fiat Hassan Saad was seen speeding away on a Mercedes
14) According to my inquiry, some of the rural youth from Bosnia feel more religious than their parents, as a strong element of ethnic identity. A significant number of women wear #niqab both in rural villages (Ošve, Gornja Maoča etc) as well as cities like Zenica and Sarajevo.
15) Obviously I couldn't write about every single fact and episode on a Twitter thread, but I'm aware of all the other cases including Totic kidnapping, Kamenica camp and others, mentioned by the existing literature (Kohlmann, Schindler, Pirjevec...)
16) Please also bear in mind this is a Twitter thread and not a scientific publication, it is difficult to summarize many information in tweets but I hope I gave an overview about the phenomenon.
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