BELGRADE, Serbia

North Macedonia on Tuesday arrested three individuals accused of planning terrorist attacks.

The Interior Ministry announced that B.A. (28), V.A. (22), and E.L. (25), all returnees from battlefields in the Middle East, had previously served sentences for the crime of participation in a foreign army.

Terrorism charges have been filed against the trio in the northern city of Kumanovo. One of the members lives in the capital Skopje.

The ministry also said that B.A., in early 2019, created a terrorist/criminal organization together with V.A. and E.L.

“They provided money and procured a large number of weapons, ammunition, and military equipment, which they hid near the local road between the villages of Biljanovce and Pcinja,” said a statement.

Security forces also found five automatic rifles, a machine gun, 18 frames for an automatic rifle with 30 bullets each, a frame with 15 bullets, three grenades for a hand grenade launcher, five lighters for a hand grenade launcher with fuses, an ISIS/Daesh flag written in Arabic, and a scarf with the same inscription.

During Monday’s search of the suspects’ houses in Kumanovo and Skopje, two homemade belts filled with explosives, metal balls for homemade bombs, and two hand grenade lighters for activating the belts were also found.

Two radio stations, computers, nine cellphones, five SIM cards, an electronic device with a lens, camouflage clothes, two knives, and an Audi car were also confiscated.

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