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TERRORISM

Swedish woman freed in Pakistan terror probe

Safia Benaouda, the 19-year-old Swedish woman arrested in Pakistan earlier in September in the company of former Guantanamo inmate Mehdi Ghezali, is reported to have been released, according to local media.

Benaouda, who is the daughter of Helena Benaouda, the head of the Muslim Council of Sweden, was released with her two and half year old son on Friday morning from the Islamabad prison in which they have been held for the past four weeks, according to local media sources.

“They have confirmed that a woman and a small child have been handed over to the Swedish embassy today and there are no suspicions held against them,” the Pakistani journalist Naveed Siddiqui, working for GEO News, said after talking to the Pakistani interior ministry.

The Swedish foreign ministry was unable to confirm the release on Friday morning.

“We have not received any information about this from the Swedish embassy,” Karin Nylund at the ministry told news agency TT.

Neither sources elsewhere within the ministry nor even the Benaouda’s mother were able to confirm the reports, which by 1pm on Friday had received wide coverage in the Swedish media.

“I have received so many contradictory reports and am now waiting for confirmation from the foreign ministry,” Helena Benaouda told TT.

Naveed Siddiqui however was able to add that the authorities have confirmed that a further eleven prisoners are set to be released, implying that Swedish national Mehdi Ghezali and Benaouda’s 28-year-old partner Munir Awad, could be among them.

He also claimed that the Pakistani authorities had detained a further Swede in connection to the terror probe, a 28-year-old man, but this has neither been confirmed by Swedish authorities.

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TERRORISM

Swede among ‘terror’ suspects arrested in the Netherlands

Dutch police have arrested four men including a Swedish citizen suspected of being involved in terror-related activities, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Swede among 'terror' suspects arrested in the Netherlands
Stock image/Depositphotos

“Rotterdam police detained four men early on Sunday evening on suspicion of being involved in terrorism,” the public prosecution's office said in a statement.

One of the men, aged 29, arrived on a flight from Stockholm earlier on Sunday while the other three aged 21, 23 and 30 come from the cities of Vlaardingen, Delft and Gouda in southwest Netherlands.

Dutch police raided three homes in the three cities and seized data but found no weapons or explosives, the statement said.

Although “there is no concrete information to indicate a terror attack, police and the public prosecution's office are not taking any chances,” prosecutors said without giving further information.

The suspects remain in custody pending a court appearance.

A Dutch citizen was sentenced to four years in November for preparing a terror attack following his arrest in Rotterdam last year, when police discovered an assault rifle and a large amount of fireworks.

In another scare, Dutch military police shot and wounded a man armed with a knife at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport earlier this month, but authorities said the incident was not terror-related.

The Netherlands has so far been spared from the slew of terror attacks to have rocked its closest European neighbours in recent years.