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Terrorist linked to Stockholm mosque

Abu Qaswara, the Swedish citizen killed by US forces in Iraq in early October and thought to be a high-ranking member of Al-Qaeda’s Iraq operations, has been connected to a Stockholm-area mosque.

Terrorist linked to Stockholm mosque

US military officials confirmed for the TT news agency that Qaswara died when he detonated a vest filled with explosives after having been shot by US forces.

The incident, which took place on October 5th in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, makes Qaswara the fourth Swedish citizen suspected of engaging in terrorism abroad to be killed or jailed.

Qaswara, who was born in Morocco and became a Swedish citizen in the 1990s, has been linked to a mosque in the Brandbergen district of the Stockholm suburb of Haninge.

The same mosque has also been connected to Ahmed Essafri, another 55-year-old naturalized Swede from Morocco, who is currently serving a three-year prison sentence in the country of his birth after he was convicted of terror-related crimes in June of this year.

Essafri has since appealed his case and Sweden’s foreign ministry expects the new trial to begin some time this autumn, according to TT.

The picture of Qaswara’s activities which has emerged is in line with repeated assessments made by Sweden’s security police, Säpo, in their annual reports about Islamic terrorism in Sweden.

According to Säpo, operations in Sweden focus primarily on fund-raising and attracting volunteers to fight abroad.

Terrorist expert Magnus Ranstorp from the Swedish National Defence College (Försvarshögskolan) said it was “no surprise” that there were terrorists active in Sweden.

“This is not unusual, almost every country has some sort of problem. Sweden doesn’t stick out in comparison with other countries. And what we are dealing with are support operations, as we have seen examples of previously,” he told the TT news agency.

BREAKING

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

Prosecutors in Sweden are now treating the murder at the Almedalen political festival as a terror crime, with the country's Säpo security police taking over the investigation.

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

In a press release issued on Monday evening, the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the 32-year-old attacker, Theodor Engström, was now suspected of the crime of “terrorism through murder”, and also “preparation for a terror crime through preparation for murder”. 

Engström stabbed the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren last Wednesday as she was on her way to moderate a seminar at the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland. 

Although he was a former member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, police said his motive seemed to be to protest against Sweden’s psychiatry services, who he felt had treated his own mental illness badly. 

The release gave no details as to why the 32-year-old was now being investigated for a more serious crime, but terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told the Expressen newspaper that the shift indicated that police had uncovered new evidence. 

READ ALSO: What do we now know about the Almedalen knife attack? 

“The new crime classification means that they’ve either found a political motive for the attack which meets the threshold for terrorism, and that might be a political motive for murdering Ing-Marie Wieselgren,” he said. “Or they might have discovered that he was scouting out a politician, or another target that could be considered political.” 

Engström’s defence lawyer said last week that his client, who he described as disturbed and incoherent, had spoken in police interrogations of having “a higher-up target”. 

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