Tourists from the Middle East take pictures at Vrelo Bosne nature park in Ilidza near Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 19, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
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Abdullah al-Sanousi enjoys the breeze in the lush resort outside Sarajevo where his family bought a flat to escape the summer heat at home in Kuwait.The number of visitors from the United Arab Emirates surged to 13,000 in the first seven months of this year from 7,265 last year, according to hotel data from the Sarajevo tourist board. In 2010, there were only 65 visitors from the UAE.Unofficial estimates put the total number of Arab tourists at between 50,000-60,000 a year, with about a quarter buying property.Many local Muslims, who pray only at mosques or at home, were shocked when a group of Arab men dressed in traditional robes prayed outdoors at a popular weekend resort near Sarajevo last year.Many Bosnians remember the Arab fighters who came during the 1992-1995 war to fight with Bosnian Muslims against Serbs and Croats, bringing with them a stricter form of Islam which drew followers, some of whom fought in Syria and Iraq for the Islamic State (Daesh).
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