ISIS-linked extremists jailed in Kosovo over thwarted attack on Israeli soccer team

A Kosovo court has sentenced nine Albanians, eight to jail, for planning a foiled attack against the Israeli soccer team during a 2016 qualifying World Cup match in neighboring Albania.

Pristina court Judge Hamdi Ibrahimi on Friday sentenced the leader of the group, Visar Ibishi, to 10 years in jail. Seven others got between a year-and-a-half in prison to 6 years. One was slapped with a 2,500-euro ($2,950) fine.

More on this...

"There is no place for extremism on this land," the judge said. "Such defendants' acts have aimed to create both in Kosovo and Albania a climate of uncertainty, let the extremist elements get in and destabilize the country with terror acts."

Kosovo police officers stand guard next to from far left, Burim Istrefi, Kenan Plakaj and Arton Ahmeti in court for the foiled attack against the Israeli team in a 2016 qualifying World Cup match in neighboring Albania, in Kosovo's capital Pristina on Friday, May 18, 2018. A Kosovo court has sentenced nine Albanians from a fine to 10 years of jail for planning an attack against the Israeli team in a 2016 qualifying World Cup match. The group, also with members in Albania and Macedonia, was coordinated by two Albanians part of the IS terror group in Syria to hold the attack in November 2016. Police found explosive devices, weapons, electronic equipment and extremist religious literature at their homes.  (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

Kosovo police officers stand guard next to from far left, Burim Istrefi, Kenan Plakaj and Arton Ahmeti in court for the foiled attack against the Israeli team in a 2016 qualifying World Cup match in neighboring Albania, in Kosovo's capital Pristina on Friday, May 18, 2018.  (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

The planned attack in November 2016 was said to have been coordinated by two Albanians in Syria fighting with the Islamic State group. Kosovo authorities say about 180 citizens are still active with extremist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Both Kosovo and Albanian authorities claim that no more of their citizens have joined the rebel groups in Syria and Iraq over the past couple of years.