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Swede held in Pakistan on terror suspicions

Published: 10 Dec 2009 08:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Dec 2009 08:28 GMT+01:00

A Swedish national is reportedly among five terror suspects arrested in Pakistan on suspicions of plotting a militant attack, Pakistani authorities said on Wednesday.

The five were arrested in Sargodha, south of Islamabad, at the home of a member of the banned militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, Pakistani district police chief Usman Anwar told AFP Wednesday.

Pakistani officials said the men were two Yemenis, one Egyptian, one Swede and a Pakistani-American. Muslim leaders in Washington said the men had been living in northern Virginia, close to the US capital, with their families until they disappeared last month.

An official at the Pakistani embassy in Washington said they are "all of US origin," but Federal Bureau of Investigations officials gave no confirmation of their nationalities.

The Swedish foreign ministry had no information about the arrests as of Wednesday night.

“The embassy is working to check out the information to see if it’s true,” foreign ministry spokesperson André Mkandawire told the TT news agency.

Nor did Swedish security service Säpo have any details about the Swede’s reported arrest.

“We’re trying to figure out if it’s true and what it could be about,” Säpo spokesperson Patrik Peter said to TT.

Sweden’s ambassador in Islamabad, Ulrika Sundberg, told TT shortly after midnight local time that she also planned to investigate the matter.

The FBI said it was probing the case, in which one of the suspects made an extremist-style "farewell" video before leaving his home in the United States.

Officials from Washington, DC-based the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) told reporters that the men's families contacted the organization after they went missing.

Nihad Awad, CAIR's executive director, did not give the men's names, ages or nationalities, but said he met on December 1 with their relatives.

Awad said the families brought along a video showing one of the five men delivering a "final statement," and which included war images and Koranic verses.

"It's like a farewell," he said of the 11-minute, English-language video that one of the families reportedly found in their home.

After viewing the video, CAIR contacted the FBI and turned over the footage and information about the missing men.

"The circumstances were so suspicious that we felt we had to bring it to the attention of the FBI," said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's national communications director.

That tip appears to be the first time authorities had been alerted to the men's activities, he added.

The FBI said it was working with families and local law enforcement to investigate the missing students.

"We are working with Pakistan authorities to determine their identities and the nature of their business there, if indeed these are the students who had gone missing," said Lindsey Godwin, an FBI spokeswoman.

Godwin said she could give no further details because "this is an ongoing investigation."

The official at the Pakistani embassy told AFP that the men entered the country through the southern city of Karachi on November 30 and went within days to the central province of Punjab.

They first went to the Punjabi capital, Lahore, before heading to Sargodha.

"We are still investigating the exact details," the official said on condition of anonymity.

US embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said in Islamabad that he was aware of reports of the arrests, but had not received any information from Pakistani officials.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said he was unable to provide more details on any American connection in the arrests.

Asked more broadly about domestic radicalization, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN: "It's always been a concern."

"We have been well aware of the threats that we continue to face, along with friends and allies around the world. We know that much of the training and the direction for the terrorists comes from Pakistan and the border area with Afghanistan," Clinton added.

CAIR's Awad said the video referred to wars between the West and various Muslim nations.

"There were... images of conflict," he added, describing the video as "similar to videos we see on the Internet."

"It was generic, but you can draw your own conclusions."

The arrests came as a Pakistani-American, David Coleman Headley, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in a Chicago court to helping plan the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Headley, who changed his name from Daood Gilani in 2006, is accused of making trips to Mumbai over almost two years, even taking boat tours around the city's harbor to scope out landing sites for the attackers, who killed 166 people including six Americans.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:24 December 10, 2009 by Pont-y-garreg
Use of English: It's "on suspicion of". Not "suspicions".
10:21 December 10, 2009 by DAVID T
somehow i doubt he's really a swede
10:26 December 10, 2009 by this_aint_sparta
and it should be "Quranic" and not "Koranic".
11:01 December 10, 2009 by Beynch
What are the Swedish laws governing revocation of somebody's citizenship?
11:46 December 10, 2009 by Jay02
Two serving Pakistan Army officers each holding the rank of major have also been implicated in the Daood Gilani terrorist plot. Clear proof of the Pak Army's hand in the Mumbai terrorist attack of 26/11/08 is now with the FBI. Hence the statements from Secretary Clinton and the private letter from President Obama in which he asked Pakistan to crack down on the Pakistani Punjabi terrorist groups: Jaish e Mohammed and Lashkar e Toiba failing which the Americans may decide to do something about it themselves. Drone attack on Muridke (the epicentre of LeT) may not be far down the line!
12:25 December 10, 2009 by Nemesis
Would somebody please explain how these people keep ending up being Swedes?

PLease no answers from th usual racist commentators.
13:02 December 10, 2009 by calebian22
Nemesis,

Since no one knows anything about these people yet, it is hard to speculate, however, the infamous Gitmo Swede, Mehdi Ghezali, was a real Swede of Algerian and Finnish descent. He was born and raised in Sweden. Like it or not, Sweden has some homegrown morons.
13:05 December 10, 2009 by here for the summer
five are americans of various mostly from muslim associated ethnic groups. Both Sweden and the US have substantial muslim ( religion not race ) immigration. Sweden an even higher percentage of the total population and the immigration pool than the US.

Unique to the Muslim religion there is a large group pushing for jihad (holy war ) against the west ( most of europe or european populated regions ), but includes India, Russia, Philipines, China most of the non muslim peoples for various reasons ranging from lack of belief to involvement in any war involving Muslims or areas where Muslims live. They recruit muslims worldwide for jihad and terror attacks.

Many radical islamic speakers at mosques even in Sweden now advocate jihad ( includes terrorism ) to support the formation of a new country or territory ( some now include Europe and anywhere that Muslims live ) to be ruled by a Caliphate. A ruler who applies a strict interpretation Islamic rule from the 11th century including zero rights for women, stoning etc ..
13:11 December 10, 2009 by bolababu
Despite disliking Nemesis's comments being an immigrant myself, i still think we need to face reality.

This guy must have been a Pakistani refugee who sought asylum and was granted refuge and after gaining citizenship status, returns to the very situation he claimed to be fleeing from. By God, how stupid can one be or how stupid can one take other people to be?

As we all know by now, this has become a trend amongst moslem refugees, especially Somalians. You ask for protection and get it and as soon as you save some money from hand-outs, you head straight back and become the very problem itself.
15:00 December 10, 2009 by EricEric
This is rather funny. The muslims invade Sweden and then there seems to be a need of going back to the caves where their normal habitat is and spread the evil of their doctrines.

There's a reason why Sverige Democraterna gains power. It's simple. When you overload a country with muslims from all over the world: From the Balkan Region, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt = the recipe on how to make disaster.

Parents in Malmoe gather in mobs to keep their children safe so that they not get robbed by the arabs. Ethnic swedes are fleeing from Södertälje since this very city has greeted more iraqis then USA and Canada has combines.

Is someone surprised?
16:16 December 10, 2009 by K2K
Let's wait for few days and we will see who these people are? where they get educated and grown up?

@ Jay02

Do you know what's there in the "Liberhan Commission report"? What did a democratically eelected government of India do on 6 December 1992???

Every country have some bad guys but one shouldn't say that the whole country or a nation is bad???

There are many reports and even evidences that Indian government is providing weapons and money to the terrorist to destabilize Pakistan.
17:14 December 10, 2009 by travels
Question:

" Nemesis -

Would somebody please explain how these people keep ending up being Swedes?"

Answer: Because of Social Democrats immigration policies and people like you. Sorry.
17:32 December 10, 2009 by skyscraper
hey jay i know ur indian mentality always blamming pakistan for everything even u blame killing of a cow in street...do u forget an indian colonel convicted in samjhota express, indian invlovement in Balochistan and supporting militant groups in pakistan..
18:05 December 10, 2009 by khiz
Its really strange. The different thing about this news is that usually Swedes Criminals dont get caught, like those who robbed billions and escaped through Helicopter :)

Its the second time that a swede is caught in Pakistan for the terrorism act. Every nation has good and bad people in it, live with this fact..

Right now Pakistan is already in a very critical situation and that makes Pakistan a desireable place for terrorists, No matter they are from India or Sweden.
19:07 December 10, 2009 by Jay02
Lol..looks like touched a few raw Pakistani nerves here.

K2K

Liberhan commission was about an internal shameful matter of India, nothing to do with Pakistan. Daood Gilani and Mumbai 26/11 is not. Besides one Pakistani LeT terrorist Ajmal Kasab was caught and is on trial in Mumbai currently.

Skyscraper

The terrorist has been caught by the FBI in US and they have pieced together what he was upto and who from the Pakistani Army were involved and yeah if you believe that the Pak Army majors were acting on their own just like Dr AQ Khan was proliferating nuke technology without the support of the Pakistani state aka ISI/PA and that India is behind TTP then i have a bridge to sell you :). Yeah Colonel Purohit and other conspirators were caught and are awaiting trial.

Drones over Muridke are now a distinct possibility :).
19:31 December 10, 2009 by K2K
@ Jay02

Do you know that how many Indian consulate are there in Afghanistan? and what their basic job is??? Don't you have a RAW agent (about a general in rank) there??? Their basic job is to support militant with money and weapons. Just few days back many truck filled with Indian weapons were caught by Pakistani securities forces close to Afghan border area. And we are not people of weak nerve, we strong people currently faces problems created by you people and your "Allies".
20:32 December 10, 2009 by Gripen
@K2K

"caught by Pakistani securities forces"...??Do even Pakistan's people trust them.

"problems created by you people and your "Allies""...then why you guys go to those Allies countries as refugees and then ask for Islamic laws once you are granted citizenship and spread hatred within ur people against "allies" countries and that too with taxed money of "allies" country's citizens.....why don't u go to ur Arabian "allies" who are silent killer's of mankind..

only you guys have problems with all other religions..
22:55 December 10, 2009 by determined
Solid idea lies behind the notion of 'EU' . Unfortunately asian region is far behind to comprehend it. To be very honest with the current state of affairs, I can not see any country within asian region which does not have conflicts with her neighbouring country. Every body knows that all are human-beings irrespective of east or west. The world is like a human body, strengthning one part(West) by destroying other part(East) will eventually affects the whole body. Keep on fighthing you bloody humans.
00:59 December 11, 2009 by human on planet
http://svtplay.se/v/1800820/dokumentar/slaget_om_muslimerna?sb,p115254,1,f,-1

see that documet about muslims by svt (swedish television documetary.

and below about bombay terror attacks in india.

http://svtplay.se/v/1788676/dokument_utifran/attentatet_i_bombay?cb,a1364145,1,f,-1/pb,a1364142,1,f,-1/pl,v,,1792951/sb,p103473,1,f,-1
10:47 December 11, 2009 by truth2.0
@Jay02

regarding touching the nerves thing... it makes me laugh, coz u guys just dont have the character to do it maaaaaan(I must admit u guys are good at crying hard)

I mean pakiz ruled u ppl for like 1000 years or so.....and that too, not by force but based on their character.

and do you want me to talk about all the racial stuff going on in India....? u kept on killing sikhs, the very infamous and currently active moaist movement... the very fresh Telangana issue... the burning of thousands of pessengers in Samjhota express saga.. the still suspicious death Major Korakorey's samjhota express investigation team in the Mumbai attacks, this is to name the few... and lets not forget the Kashmir

would you like to tell me how many ppl u kill every day in the name of separatist activist in India everyday?

this discussion is probably fully out of context... but you started it man... i have had to answer you..
16:27 December 11, 2009 by human on planet
what happened to previous comments
05:25 December 13, 2009 by kixpk
@jay02. LoL.hahahahaha........ROFL, poooooooooooo.......operation blue star, asam,telgana, you being culprit in sri lanka for years supporting tamil tigers, you having problem with china regarding naga land, giving asylum to dalai lama. always problem with bangla desh. supprting northern alliance in afghanistan through RAW and your consulates. Funding bahram Dagh Bugti, providing funding and weapons to create problems in Balochistan, Attacks on Sri Lankan cricket team in lahore. 80 thousand troops in kashmir . is there any neighboring country with whom you guys have no problem ??? You mentally insecure bunch of people (never a nation). recently Russian minister refused to accept you a nuclear power, set back for your wild dream of being asian tiger and world super power. hahaha............ you still talk????? well thats only thing you guys are good at. hahahahahaha............................
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