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Swede 'arrested in Morocco terror sweep'

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18:29 CET+01:00
A Swedish businessman taken from his home in Morocco on 26th December is believed to have been arrested by the security services, the Swedish Foreign Ministry has said.

The ministry was on Friday evening not revealing where it had come across the information, but was emphasising that it was so far unconfirmed.

"We have informed the relatives that we have information that the Moroccan security services arrested him, but we have not got this information confirmed," Mirjam Mannbro, spokeswoman for the foreign ministry in Stockholm, told The Local.

The 54-year-old man, who has dual Swedish-Moroccan citizenship, was taken from his family home in the coastal town of Tetouan by men in civilian clothes.

According to the family, the men initially claimed to be visiting to give a present to the man, before later saying that they were police officers, and were on a mission backed by the United States.

Members of the man's family have said they believe the arrest was linked to action against alleged Islamist extremists, although they maintain that the Swede has no connection to Islamist organizations.

The Moroccan government announced on Thursday that it had dismantled a radical Islamist cell that was recruiting volunteers to fight in Iraq, saying it had arrested 62 people. The government said the cell had links to a number of terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.

The Swedish foreign ministry was unable to confirm on Friday that the Swede's arrest was linked to the terror sweep, although confirmed that members of the family believed there was a link.

Swedish diplomats plan to keep trying to get answers about the man's whereabouts and the accusations against him, Mirjam Mannbro said. But, she added, the situation was "complicated" by the fact that the man is a dual citizen. His status means that he is treated by Moroccan authorities purely as a Moroccan citizen.

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