Al-Qaeda “recruited from Sweden”

An Italy-based Moroccan terrorist group with links to al-Qaeda has members in Sweden and Norway, according to Italian intelligence sources.

The group is said to have been involved in the terrorist attacks in Madrid in 2004 and in Casablanca in 2003. According to the newspaper Corriere della Sera, the Italian military’s intelligence service SISMI has in the last year made several warnings concerning groups of volunteers who fought against the US-led forces in Iraq and who are now returning to Europe to carry out attacks.

Among these volunteers, said SISMI, are people who were brought up and recruited from Sweden and Norway, reported the Norwegian news agency NTB.

One of these groups, the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) is said to have cells in northern Italy. These cells in turn have contacts across Europe, including in Sweden and Norway, wrote the paper.

“Generally you can say that all terror groups have participants and sympathisers in Sweden, although I don’t recognise this one,” said Anders Tornberg, who is head of information at the security police and formerly worked with terrorism issues.

Tornberg said that Sweden is also used in certain cases as a fundraising base for terrorist organisations, but he pointed out that it is not illegal just to sympathise with a terrorist group.

GICM, according to the Norwegian defence expert Brynjar Lia, is a primary target for those fighting terrorism in Europe, not least for its suspected branches in Europe, including Scandinavia.

TT/The Local