Head of Albanian Muslim community welcomes Israeli soccer team to “a calm and peaceful stay in the Albanian land!”; High security at match after ISIS terrorists planned attack earlier this week
The religious leader of Albania’ Muslim community has welcomed the Israeli soccer team to Albania Saturday. The welcome comes amidst heavy security in the nation’s capital of Tirana following the thwarting of group of terrorists planning an attack on the soccer match.
The soccer match was under heavy security with security checks by the over 2,000 police deployed to the match. The area was closed off and businesses closed for the day to ensure safety after the arrest of a terror group of 15 from Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. The group that was planning the attack were found by security forces and arrested.
The terrorist group, linked to ISIS, was arrested earlier this week, Israel’s Mossad reportedly giving intelligence to Albania’s Counter Terrorism Bureau. The soccer match was also moved to Elbasan for security purposes.
The Bureau released the statement “Balkan officials have arrested individuals affiliated with ISIS who have planned terror attacks against a range of targets in the Balkans, including the international soccer game between Albania and Israel. Despite the arrests, and depending on the situation, there is still a significant threat of attacks in the area. Therefore, the Counter Terrorism Bureau is issuing a travel warning to Albania… and recommends Israelis refrain from attending the national team game on November 12.”
Grand Mufti Skender Brucaj welcomed Israel to the World Cup games in Albania, stating that Albania has “high human values, that of generosity, and religious tolerance and harmony.”
He stated that he is “proud of our predecessors, Albanian Muslims, believers and generous ones who sheltered thousands of Israelis at their homes during World War II, turning into the only country in Europe with more Israelis after the war than before it started,” and welcomed the “sportsmen and guests from Israel a calm and peaceful stay in the Albanian land!”