Kosovo militants suspected of links with Islamic countries

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

March 13, 1998

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a rebel organisation fighting Serb rule in the troubled province, may have ties to Islamic countries, the Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) reported Friday from Tirana.

There were suspicions that these links were established by the former chief of the National Information Service (NIS), Bashkim Gazidede.

Gazidede, reportedly a devout Moslem who fled Albania in March of last year, is presently being investigated for his contacts with Islamic terrorist organizations.

KLA fighters also allegedly received training in central Albanian camps, according to recent newspaper reports.

Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano gathered information about suspected links between Albanian intelligence agencies and terrorist Islamic organisations during a visit to Israel and Palestinian areas this week, the newspaper Gazeta Shqiptare reported Friday, quoting government sources.

Nano has repeatedly called for a peaceful solution of the Kosovo crisis.

In remarks believed to be aimed at former president Sali Berisha's Democratic Party (DP), he has also accused "political circles" in Albania of pushing ethnic Albanians in Kosovo towards an armed confrontation with the Serbs. dpa ac ch


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