Balkan Strategic Studies

October 16, 2003

Terrorist Infiltration Into Bosnia Continues

Exclusive. From GIS Station Sarajevo. Border police in Bosnia-Herzegovina on October 13, 2003, arrested a major known Algerian terrorist while he was attempting to cross the border from Serbia & Montenegro through the Gorazde Corridor, the thin strip of land which is part of Republica Srpska, a component republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The man arrested was Ais Benkhir, who had been given a Bosnia-Herzegovina passport in September 2001, ostensibly because he was a worker of an organized given as “Kuwait General Committee Help for Sarajevo” [as translated]. That organization is reportedly close to Egyptian, Palestinian and Algerian terorrist organizations. 

Benkhir was arrested at a border crossing at Metaljka [his route was from Pljevlja in Montenegro, some 22km from Metaljka, across the border to Cajnice in Republica Srpska, Bosnia-Herzegovina] because he was on an Interpol wanted list. According that list, Benkhir was accused of participating in a terrorist attack in Algeria in 1995. Five civilians and one Algerian soldier were killed in that attack. 

Benkhir’s route was exactly along the path outlined by GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily on October 15, 2003, in a report entitled Strong Warning Indicators for New Surge in European Islamist Terrorism: from Albania through Kosovo to the southern Serbian/northern Montenegrin region known as Raška Oblast to the Goražde Corridor — the thin strip of territory which is part of Republica Srpska, despite the massive efforts of the Bosnian Islamists in 1994, during the civil war, to slice through Bosnian Serb territory (now known as Republica Srpska) to the border with Serbia and Montenegro.

Several weeks before Benkhir’s arrest, border police in Orasje (in the north of Bosnia) arested an Egyptian with a false Belgian passport. Jusuf Amkad, who is a member of Egyptian terrorist organization al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, also had a Bosnian passport. Amkad is in prison waiting for a court decision on a request from the Egyptian Government for his extradition. Significantly, al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya is essentially an al-Qaida organization. The principal founder of the group was Ayman al-Zawahiri, the principal deputy to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. [See September 17, 2003, report: Bosnian Official Links With Terrorism, Including 9/11, Become Increasingly Apparent as Clinton, Clark Attempt to Justify Support of Bosnian Militants. This report highlighted the involvement of Bosnian Islamists of the SDA Party, led by Alija Izetbegovic. Subsequent reports highlighted the relationships of former US Pres. William Clinton and his colleagues with Izetbegovic and the SDA.] Ayman al-Zawahiri has been closely associated with the Bosnian Islamist leadership, as has his brother, Mohammed al-Zawahiri, in military, paramilitary and terrorist operations and command.

Meanwhile, on October 14, 2003, SFOR (Stabilization Force peacekeeping) troops in Sarajevo raided the main building of the police and the intelligence service of the Muslim-Croat Federation, a component part of Bosnia-Herzegovina. An SFOR spokesman said that the force was  searching for “anti-Dayton [accord] activities”. One source, at the scene of the incident, reported that SFOR took “a main computer” from the Federal Secret Service. Meanwhile, other open sources said that SFOR carried out raids on both October 14 and 15, 2003, “throughout Bosnia”, looking “for evidence to help the Hague-based war crimes tribunal”. The sweep began in the Croat-Muslim federation and continued into Republika Srpska. The SFOR spokesman said that SFOR would determine if the activities of the police and intelligence services were in keeping with the 1995 Dayton peace accords. 

On July 7, 2003, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily, in a report entitled Al-Qaida-linked Terrorist Operations Escalate in Bosnia as US, International Officials Turn a Blind Eye, highlighted terrorist links into the Islamist-dominated Bosnia-Herzegovina Government intelligence service, AID (Agencija za Istrazivanje i Dokumentaciju BiH: Agency for Documentation and Investigation).