IS issues global threats; officials say Serbia is safe
A spokesman for Islamic State has called on followers to organize attacks across the world; Serbian ministers say that the country is not under threat.Source: B92, Blic, Tanjug
Reuters is reporting that the audio message "purporting to come from the spokesman of Islamic State, Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer" urged attacks in the United States, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and the Philippines "during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began in late May."
The agency said that the authenticity of the recording "could not be independently verified" -"but the voice was the same as a previous audio message purported to be from the spokesman.
"O lions of Mosul, Raqqa, and Tal Afar, God bless those pure arms and bright faces, charge against the rejectionists (Shi'ites) and the apostates and fight them with the strength of one man. To the brethren of faith and belief in Europe, America, Russia, Australia, and others. Your brothers in your land have done well so take them as role models and do as they have done," said the message.
Several deadly terrorist attacks have happened over the past month around the world - in Manchester, London, Kabul, and Tehran. Iran this week accused the US of supporting Islamic State.
Judging by an earlier message from Islamic State, the Balkan area is not safe either - instead, the terrorists said they have been "preoccupied elsewhere."
Commenting on this, Serbia's Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic told the daily Blic that he was "not surprised by the IS threats."
"Terrorism is a great security challenge even for far more developed countries, as we have had the opportunity to see. At this moment, there is no direct danger for Serbia when it comes to terrorist attacks, and citizens can feel safe. Our police services are vigilant and do not take even the slightest hint of a threat for granted," said Stefanovic.
The minister added that the Service for the Fight against Terrorism, together with the Prosecution and the BIA agency "analyzes information coming from the field on a daily basis."
"We are monitoring the situation around the clock and are constantly in touch with services in the region and in Europe in order to have timely information, for the purpose of suppressing the threat. The police are ready to respond to all security challenges," he concluded.
Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic told the newspaper that "all services are on standby."
"Through the decisions of its top officials, Serbia was among the first countries to, in line with its capabilities, offer active contribution to international efforts aimed at confronting terrorism, considering that such organizations represent a challenge to security at a global level. Citizens can rest assured. The MoD is constantly monitoring the situation, in cooperation with other structures, and is resolutely guarding peace and security," Djordjevic stressed.
According to the US-based Combating Terrorism Center, the most dangerous jihadi hotspots in the Balkans are in Bosnia-Herzegovina - with Gornja Maoca as the most notorious stronghold that at one point displayed Islamic State's black flag, and with recruitment centers in Zenica and Sarajevo - and in Kosovo, where the recruitment center "moved from Pec to Mitrovica."
According to reports, there are "more than 100 terrorist cells" across the Balkans, most of them in Bosnia.