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– THE 7th MUSLIM LIBERATION BRIGADE

 

 

When the civil war breached out in Yugoslavia, in mid 1991, the Muslim population of Bosnia was the most vulnerable and weakest community between the Catholic Croatian in the West and the Orthodox Serbs in the East with a population of less than 2.5 Muslims. Immediately as the war breached out Serbs in Eastern Bosnia began with ethnic cleansing and mass executions.

 

In the Muslim world and in Europe there were few thousands of veterans from the war in Afghanistan against the Russians, which ended three years earlier, in 1988. By the beginning of 1992 few thousands of Islamists fled Algeria to Europe as the civil war in Algeria breached out in 12/1991. Many of those devoted militant Muslims felt an obligation, had the experience and did not settle down yet to build ordinary civilian life and were the most enthusiastic and available volunteers to join the war in former Yugoslavia.

 

Protecting a Muslim community which came under attack was more a defensive obligation of solidarity between Muslims and not a fulfillment of Global Jihad, which is basically offensive and about spreading Islam further more.

 

In late 1993 the first organized group called “El-Mujahid”, manned mainly by Algerians, recruited and commanded by Anwar Shaaban began to operate in the region between Zenica and Tuzla, in central Bosnia. In 1994 they were joined by Abdelkader Mokhtari as the second in command. Soon the formation grew to up to 2000 with volunteers from the Iranian-sponsored “al-Quds” formations that were deployed in Bosnia by Iran, following intensive training and indoctrination at terrorist training facilities in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sudan. All in all the three Muslim Liberation Brigades in Bosnia contained over 8 000 troops (as of 1996). In 1995 they became formally known as the 7th Muslim Liberation Brigade, also known as the Mujahideen  Brigade, incorporated into the 3rd Corp of the Bosnian army.
 
A second  Muslim Liberation Brigade, the 4th, commanded by Nezim Halilovic, which was comprised of mainly Bosnians and a small number of Turks, was operating in Mostar, in South West Bosnia on the border with Croatia and Montenegro and incorporated into the 4th Corp.

 

When the war ended with the Dayton Peace Agreement, in 12/1995, it stated that all foreign combatants had to leave the country and all Mujahideen came under pressure to leave Bosnia. Most of them indeed left Bosnia but many hundreds married local women and became, therefore, naturalized citizens.

 

Aside Muslim volunteers who came to fight, many Islamic charities operated also in the same region (see – Golden Chain). There was a constant leakage from the 7th Mujahideen  Brigade to the Islamic Charities which employed many of the veterans.

 

After the war it took some years to the Bosnian government to reform and reestablish their sovereignty on all the country and the region where the Mujahideen fought was actually an un-ruled area run by the Muslim veterans at least up to 1998.

 

The 7th Muslim Liberation Brigade was a junction connecting Afghan veterans with Algerian Islamic militants, Islamic Charities with European Islamic youth to a conglomerate of ties and connections which emerged and crystallized in the battlefield. In many cases those relations were used later by Al Qaeda to build its network in Europe.  
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