******UPDATE******

The vermin below is indeed the same ISIS man seen on video in June burning his U.S./UN/EU-issued Kosovo passport in, it seemed, Iraq, while exhorting others to jihad. (I’d compared faces before blogging about his apt ISIS-KLA comparison below, but they looked different, so I left out the possible connection.) In any case, he is now reported dead, and further, reported to have worked with our Serb-battering KFOR troops at Camp Bondsteel (like this Kosovo-Albanian suicide bomber in Iraq).

K. Albanian who committed gruesome crimes “is dead” (B92, Tanjug, Aug. 19)

Kurdish television KNNC has reported that Kosovo Albanian Lavdrim Muhaxheri, who joined the Islamic State fighters, has been killed.

His body was shown during the broadcast.

According to the Kurdish outlet, Muhaxheri died of the wounds sustained in clashes with Kurdish defense forces, Albanian language media in Priština have said.

The 24-year-old from the town of Kačanik in Kosovo first “joined Jihad” in Syria and committed brutal crimes there. In late July he posted photos on Facebook showing him holding a Syrian teenager, preparing to decapitate him with a knife, and then holding the severed head in his hands, posing in front of the camera.

In an interview published by the Tirana daily Dita on August 2, he stated that he “did nothing more than what members of the KLA did during the war (in Kosovo).”

Previously, Muhaxheri, described as the best-known Albanian member of the Islamic State organization, was in the media in June when he published a photograph of himself “burning the Kosovo passport.”

According to the media in Kosovo, Muhaxheri called himself the leader of Albanian fighters who joined the extremist group. Before joining Islamic extremists in the Middle East, he worked for American KFOR forces in Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, and for NATO in Afghanistan.

During the Ramadan of 2013 he participated in the activities of the Islamic Community of Kosovo, which is “confirmed by several photos,” said the reports.

Last year he was allegedly elected commander of the Albanians belonging to “a breakaway wing of rebels against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad - but not the one that seeks democracy in Syria, but the one that sees Syria as a country to be ruled by the Sharia law and groups close to Al-Qaeda.”

However, a person who returned to Kosovo from the war in Syria told the Albanian language daily Express that Muhaxheri was not a commander, but “only provided guarantees for Albanians who joined the jihadists.”

The local media in Priština also said on August 15 that an international arrest warrant would be issued against him, and that Interpol “accepted the demand of Kosovo authorities to be involved in the search system.”

The Basic Court in the town of Uroševac in Kosovo had charged Muhaxheri on suspicion of that he committed terrorist activities and organized a group to wage war in Syria and Iraq.

According to the Priština media, in the last few years, more than 200 Kosovo Albanians “went to Jihad,” to fight on the side of radical Islamic groups.

******END UPDATE (BUT SEE APPENDIX AT BOTTOM)******

From the horse’s mouth. Just caught this August 2nd item from InSerbia.info, thanks to Danny:

Kosovo Albanian who beheaded a man says he is doing the same thing KLA did

Lavdrim Muhaxheri, a 25-year-old jihadist from Kosovo, who recently posted a photo on social networks where he is seen beheading a young Syrian, said that he did nothing more than what KLA did during the war, writes Pristina daily “Express”, Tanjug reports…

In an interview with the Albanian daily “Dita” … Muhaxheri, who fights on the side of the rebels in Syria, said the 19-year-old who was beheaded was “caught as a spy, and according to Quran, the one who betrays the Muslims” should be executed. “They accuse me of cutting the head of a man? I did not do anything less or more than what KLA soldiers did during the war. Photographs of these crimes committed by the KLA I posted on the Facebook, for the whole world to see,” he said, according to “Express”.

Meanwhile, no sooner did I post a year-in-review about Balkans jihadists in Syria than late Monday night the item below dropped into my inbox (and I found that Pamela Geller was already on the case):

Kosovo Police Arrest 40 Alleged Islamic Radicals (AP, Aug. 11)

Kosovo police on Monday arrested at least 40 people in a major operation targeting Islamic radicals suspected of fighting alongside extremists in Iraq and Syria.

Spokesman Baki Kelani said weapons, ammunition and explosives were seized as hundreds of police officers and special police units raided 60 locations across Kosovo, including makeshift mosques believed to have served as recruiting centers.

The police operation is the largest ever against suspected Islamic radicals in Kosovo. Authorities have been on alert [after our prodding and after years of trying to get them to police their own ‘country’] as a growing number of ethnic Albanians have joined militants in Syria and Iraq and appeared on social media in attempts to lure more followers.

The thorny issue of religion has often brought conservative Muslims at loggerheads with secular Kosovars as the two groups struggle to set up a functioning country in the aftermath of the 1998-99 separatist war against Serbia.

Police said the arrests Monday were the result of two years of surveillance and investigations and that some of the arrested are suspected of being involved in terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group, or Jabhat Al-Nusra.

They estimated at least 200 Kosovars have joined the ranks of Islamic militants as volunteers and at least 16 have been killed in battles with Syrian and Iraqi authorities.

Kosovo’s government welcomed Monday’s operation and warned it will fight religious extremists in Kosovo.

Most of the suspects come from central Kosovo’s Ferizaj municipality, which is also home to the U.S. military installation Camp Bondsteel, where some 700 American peacekeepers are stationed.

Maj. Mike Wallace, a spokesman for the U.S. peacekeepers, declined to give details about security arrangements in the U.S.-led command, but said troops remain alert.

In an attempt to distance itself from extremists, the country’s largest Muslim group, Kosovo’s Islamic Community, praised the arrests and urged young faithful to steer clear of “groups calling themselves upon a so-called jihad.”


Kosovo police officers guard the entrance of a makeshift mosque after raid in Kosovo capital Pristina on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014…hundreds of police officers and special police units raided 60 locations across Kosovo, including makeshift mosques believed to have served as recruiting centres. Sign in background “Xhamia” in Albanian is for mosque. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)


Police tape seal [incidentally in the language of their chief sponsor] is seen at the entrance of a makeshift mosque after raid in Kosovo capital Pristina on Monday, Aug. 11…

AFP also carried the item, complete with all the requisite disclaimers:

Kosovo police arrest 40 in action against Islamic militants

…The raid followed a months-long investigation and efforts by the authorities to root out suspected Islamist networks in Kosovo.

Kosovo is a Muslim-majority country, although religion plays only a minor part in public life and tends to take a very moderate form.

In June, three ethnic Albanians — who make up more than 90 percent of Kosovo’s 1.7 million population — were arrested on suspicion of setting up a “terrorist organization” as media alleged they were recruited by ISIS, which has since renamed itself Islamic State, while fighting in Syria.

The three were arrested upon their return to Kosovo where intelligence agents intercepted their communications and plans to carry out suicide attacks in public places…Police say at least 16 have been killed in Iraq and Syria so far.

And from Reuters:

40 Kosovans Arrested on Suspicion of Joining Insurgencies in Syria and Iraq (Reuters, Aug. 11)

…Kosovo is an overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian country where the main religion is Islam, although lifestyles are largely secular.

The 40 men were being questioned on suspicion of engaging in acts against Kosovo’s constitutional order and endangering the safety and security of the state, a police statement said.

Local media said an 18-year-old man from eastern Kosovo was killed in fighting in Syria last week, raising the total number of Kosovo Albanians killed in fighting in Iraq and Syria to 16.

“Those arrested are being questioned, and we are looking to arrest others not found at their homes,” Kosovo police spokesman Baki Kelani said. He could not say many were still at large.

Many in Kosovo were shocked [shocked!] when pictures circulated on social media last month of Lavdrim Muhaxheri, a self-styled leader of Kosovo Albanians fighting with Islamic State militants, apparently decapitating a teenager in Iraq. [Syria, I think.]

A Kosovo government statement on the arrests said: “(Our) state … will firmly defend civilized Euro-Atlantic values, individual freedom, secularism, constitutional and legal rights of all communities in Kosovo.” [After doing everything in contradiction to those when creating Kosovo in the first place, showing the more radical among this society of patchwork radicals how it’s done.]

President Atifete Jahjaga, who has helped coordinate security agencies in moves against militants heading to Iraq and Syria, said Kosovo would never be a “shelter for extremism”. […]

She should get to know her ‘country’ a little better. A related update came on Thursday:

Kosovo police arrest 2 suspected Islamic radicals (AP, Aug. 14)

Kosovo police say they have arrested two suspected Islamic radicals including a cleric considered by the authorities to be the main recruiter for Kosovo’s jihadi fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Police said the cleric is believed to be “one of the main sources of inspiration for jihad” among Kosovo’s faithful. He was identified by Kosovo media as Imam Zekerija Qerimi, the leader of prayers in city of Gnjilane, eastern Kosovo.

Both of those arrested are suspected of recruiting followers for terrorist activity and participating in terrorist organizations.

Gnjilane? You don’t say! First we had an Albanian saying the ISISniks are doing no different from the “secular/moderate/reasonable” U.S. partners, the KLA. Now, we have the main recruiter — a religious Muslim Albanian — having led prayers in Gnjilane, a 1990s KLA stronghold, hotbed of violent separatism, and Serb-torture Central.

******APPENDIX******


KLA, 1999. So what’s different between ISIS and KLA other than their designated enemies?

KLA Cut Off People’s Heads (Vecernje Novosti, Nov. 2, 2003)

Members of the notorious so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), who waged a campaign of terror in Kosovo and Metohija for many years, especially against the Serbian population (in 1999 the KLA had approximately 20,000 armed men) continue to roam the southern province today wearing different badges and under different names, doing everything possible to achieve their grand dream - an independent, Albanian Kosovo.

Exposing themselves to the possible risks that investigations of this sort entail, the journalists of “Novosti”, after some days of searching and cross-referencing facts from multiple sources, arrived at information that enabled them to “revisit” this case with relative reliability and “revive” this photograph of a horrible scene.

THE PLAYERS: The Albanian in the middle of the victory celebration is Sadik Cuflaj, KLA member from the Decani area.

The young man to his left is his son Valon Cuflaj, born in April 1981 in the village of Prilep, municipality of Decani. He has an UNMIK identity card and is now a member of the Kosovo Protection Corps with the rank of lieutenant. He works in the inspector’s office in Pec. UNMIK has taken disciplinary measures against him on two occasions.

It is assumed that these murderers belonged to one of the units commanded by Ramush and Daut Haradinaj, which operated in the zone of Decani - Pec.

With great caution and piety, after cross-checking, our reporters were led to the assumption that the visible human head on the right is the head of Bojan Cvetkovic, born in Nis in 1972. A comparison with a photograph published in the book “Junaci otadzbine” [Heroes of the Fatherland] also leads us to the same assumption.

His days as a soldier were few. On April 11 [1999] he was abducted by members of the vicious KLA on the Prizren - Pristina road near Suva Reka.

Four other soldiers were captured at the same time: Zarko Filipovic, Dragoljub Tanaskovic, Dragan Vucetic and Zivota Topalovic.

Another photograph reveals a horrific spectacle: Sadik Cuflaj is placing one of the severed heads in a large bag!

Is the bag full of the heads of young Serbian men?

This story and these photographs are just a small part of the crimes by ethnic Albanians committed by members of the so-called Liberation Army.

Today these same men wear the uniforms of the Protection Corps (approximately 5,000 members of the former KLA are in the Corps), establishing “multiethnic order” in devastated Kosovo.

Thus, they are protected by the international community. Thus, all their crimes have been forgiven. Thus, their wartime leaders and their commanders, now dressed in elegant uniforms, can travel to the capitals of the world and participate in roundtable discussions where they supposedly discuss peace. […]