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Israel soccer attack plotter killed in Syria: official


Washington (AFP)

The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria has killed a plotter of the thwarted attack at last year's Israel-Albania soccer match in Albania, a US official said Thursday.

Lavdrim Muhaxheri was killed in a June 7 air strike near Mayadin, which is close to Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria, coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said.

"He was an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo and a self-proclaimed leader of ISIS foreign fighters from Kosovo," he said.

Albanian authorities have charged four people over allegedly plotting to attack the World Cup qualifier in Albania last November.

The game had been due to take place in the northern town of Shkodra but was eventually held in Elbasan, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the Albanian capital Tirana, under a massive security presence.

Dillon said Muhaxheri was "the most prominent and radical ethnic Albanian fighter" in Syria who was responsible for inciting jihadist ideology in Europe and encouraging foreign fighters to travel to IS-controlled territory.

"He was also responsible for planning numerous terrorist attacks, to include the failed plot to bomb the 2016 Israel-Albania soccer match in Albania," Dillon told reporters in a video call from Baghdad.

Kosovo, a predominantly ethnic Albanian and Muslim country, has been confronted with more than 300 of its citizens waging jihad in Syria and Iraq.

It has subsequently strengthened legislation and attempted to root out radical Islamist networks.

Dillon said eight other "colleagues" of Muhaxheri had also been killed.

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