JUNE 26 2013 14:39h

Bosnian radical Islamists preparing to join Syrian rebels

A woman wears a burqa (full-face veil) in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in defiance of a new French law banning the garment in Paris on April 11, 2011.  The controversial new law takes effect today and officially bans all garments which cover the face.  Violators are subject to a fine of 150 euros ($217).   UPI/David Silpa




Nine armed and masked Bosnian radical Islamists have announced in a video message their departure for Syria to fight alongside the opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, Bosnian media said on Tuesday.

The video, posted on the LiveLeak video website, showed the nine men, who identified themselves as followers of the Bosnian Salafi order, singing and in the end chanting Allahu akbar, or God is great. Their singing was rather inarticulate, and they mentioned the jihad, or the holy war, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. The author of the video claims that they are preparing to travel to Syria to join the insurgents in the city of Hama.

The FTV television network has said earlier that a group of 52 Bosnian fighters have gone to Syria since the outbreak of fighting there, 32 have returned in the meantime and two have been reportedly killed.

According to security agencies, citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina travel to Syria using a well-established route through Turkey. The Bosnian authorities have not officially launched an investigation into organised departures of Bosnian Salafists to fight in Syria.

The Bosnian intelligence agency OSA has earlier warned that about 3,000 persons believed to be members of radical Islamic organisations live in Bosnia and Herzegovina.