Bosnian Wahhabist attacked U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. Serbia detained 17 suspects.
Europe Security News.- Bosnian police officers control access Gonja Maoca. Photo Credit to JusufPhoto.
Bosnia-Herzegovina – Special police units raided homes Saturday in a Bosnian village linked to the gunman who fired an automatic weapon at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo in what authorities called a terrorist attack. The raids came as 17 suspected associates of the shooter, all said to be members of the ultraconservative Wahhabi Muslim sect, were briefly detained in Serbia.
A convoy of police vehicles entered the isolated northern village of Gornja Maoca, known to be inhabited by many Wahhabis. The police surrounded several houses and the village appeared blocked with police setting up checkpoints, stopping cars and searching them.
The gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Mevlid Jasarevic, is accused of shooting at the embassy building in Sarajevo for at least 30 minutes Friday, wounding a policeman guarding the facility, before a police sniper immobilized him with a shot in his leg.
Jasarevic is believed to be a follower of the Wahhabi sect, and police said he visited Gornja Maoca several times this and last year.
In Serbia, police said in a statement that as part of the detentions of suspects, some 18 houses were searched and computers and mobile phones confiscated. The 17 people held were later released after questioning, police said.
Wahhabism is a very conservative branch of Islam that is rooted in Saudi Arabia and linked to religious militants in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Police raided Gornja Maoca in February 2010 because its residents were accused of posing a security threat in Bosnia by promoting racial and religious hatred and illegally possessing weapons.
Many Bosnian Muslims are extremely protective of their relations with the U.S. because it was the driving force behind NATO military intervention against the Serbs during the 1992-95 war and brokered a peace agreement that ended the conflict.
Furious callers on live radio shows suggested the Wahhabi movement should be banned and its members expelled.
The New York Times recently noted a religious revival in among Muslims in Bosnia; Muslims make up 45% of Bosnians. Although this religious revival is benign for most Bosnian Muslims seeking solace in their faith, there is a worrying Wahhabi strain among some Bosniaks [Muslims Bosnians] that previously was not there.
The culprit is the $700 million invested in Bosnia by Saudi groups since the end of the early 1990s civil war. Most of this monoey has gone into building Mosques.