Serbian Extremists Linked to Plot Against Pope

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SARAJEVO, Bosnia, JUNE 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Ravna Gora Serbian extremist movement planned to attack John Paul II sometime during his recent trips to Croatia and Banja Luka, a newspaper reported.



Quoting Bosnian government sources, the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje reported Tuesday that news of the plots reached the police of the Serbian enclave Republika Srpska, as well as Western secret services, three months earlier.

During the Pope's visit to Croatia, a mercenary of unknown nationality was to be used, contracted in Slovenia, the newspaper said.

According to Western secret services, the plan called for several groups of armed men to line the streets of Banja Luka in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which the Pope would drive through, and decide at the last minute which of the terrorists would carry out the attack.

The Sarajevo newspaper wrote that, on the eve of the Pope's arrival last Sunday, Republika Srpska police arrested Nedjo Osap, the president of Ravna Gora, and his vice president Milan Barisic, confiscating weapons found in their homes.

The attacks were averted, it seems, thanks to the considerable deployment of police -- 4,000 officers. Added to their number were NATO troops that still guard the country. Airspace was also blocked; only NATO helicopters were allowed in the skies.