Police in Macedonia have arrested four suspected members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, searching for three others.
Security forces launched an operation Friday, including raids in the capital, Skopje, and the northwestern city of Tetovo, and managed to arrest four members of Daesh, who had operated in Syria and Iraq, said police official Dejana Nedeljkovic on Saturday.
She added that computers, cell phones and passports of these men were also seized in their hideouts, adding that police were searching for three others, who are at large, and two of them were probably still fighting on the frontline in Iraq and Syria.
According to the latest figures released by the Macedonian police, about 130 nationals have joined the ranks of Daesh.
In August last year, security forces also managed to detain nine members of the terror group across the country and officials announced that 27 more were being sought. These suspects, according to officials, either operated for Daesh in the Middle East or helped recruit militants for the terrorist group in the Balkan country.
“The mere fact that these people were present on those battlefields and have returned here is an indicator that terrorist acts against Macedonia are a real possibility,” said Interior Minister Mitko Chavkov at the time.
According to Macedonia’s criminal code, joining conflicts overseas as well as recruiting citizens to fight in foreign conflicts is punishable by five years in prison.
In February, the European Union’s criminal intelligence agency Europol said up to 5,000 trained members of Daesh were at large in Europe.
Some 30,000 militants from over 100 countries have reportedly traveled to Syria and Iraq since 2011 to join the ranks of Takfiri terrorist groups.
Many European countries initially turned a blind eye to the flow of citizens into the Middle East, ignoring warnings that they would return someday and hit back at home.