Police in Kosovo have said officers prevented simultaneous attacks by the Islamic State group, including on the Israeli national soccer team that played in neighbouring Albania.
They said 18 people were arrested in Kosovo and six more in Albania or Macedonia.
At the suspects’ homes and premises police found explosive devices, weapons and electronic equipment.
The groups in the three countries, coordinated by two Albanians who are part of the IS terror group in Syria, had “clear targets on who and when should be attacked”, police said.
The venue of last weekend’s World Cup qualifier was changed for “security reasons” from the northern city of Shkoder, near the border with Montenegro, to Elbasan, much nearer to the capital Tirana.
A police statement said plans were in place to attack Saturday’s match and, at the same time, another target in Kosovo.
Nineteen people were detained in Kosovo on November 4, of whom one has since been released, police there said.
Albania and Macedonia announced six more people detained.
Kosovo police said it also found “religious material and literature from well-known authors recognised for their extremist ideology”.
Both Kosovo and Albanian authorities claim that no more of their citizens have joined the rebel groups in Syria and Iraq over the past year, but scores of them remain active with IS fighting groups.