Soccer

Albania fans arrested with weapons before Serbia game

Serbia's midfielder Nemanja Gudelj (L) holds a flag with Albanian national symbols pulled down by Serbia's defender Stefan Mitrovic (C) from a remotely operated drone flown over the pitch during the EURO 2016 group I football match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade on October 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Serbia's midfielder Nemanja Gudelj (L) holds a flag with Albanian national symbols pulled down by Serbia's defender Stefan Mitrovic (C) from a remotely operated drone flown over the pitch during the EURO 2016 group I football match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade on October 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

TIRANA, Albania --

Police in Albania say they have arrested a man who claimed to have flown a drone carrying a nationalist banner over a stadium in Serbia last year during a European qualifier, in an incident that prompted fan violence and a diplomatic spat between the two countries.

Authorities say 33-year-old Ismail Morinaj was arrested with three other men as part of a major security operation on the eve of the return match in Elbasan, Albania.

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Two handguns, ammunition, and 36 match tickets were seized.

Police have taken tough security measures for Thursday's game, deploying 1,500 officers, and enforcing a huge traffic cordon around the stadium.

Fans will have to show identification and be searched before entering Elbasan Arena.

Albania is currently third in Group I with 11 points from six matches.