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STOCKHOLM SUICIDE BOMBING

IRAQ

Stockholm bomber trained in Iraq: official

Three months before the bomb blasts in Stockholm last month, the suicide bomber trained in Mosul in Iraq and learned how to make bombs, the director of the fight against terrorism in Iraq said on Friday.

Stockholm bomber trained in Iraq: official

“He trained in Mosul for three months…He entered Iraq from Turkey,” General Dhai Kanani, the head of Iraq’s anti-terrorism unit, said of Taimour Abdulwahab in excerpts from an interview with Arabic-language television channel Al Arabiya.

Kanani said the information was obtained from a detained Islamist and that Baghdad had warned US intelligence of a possible attack by Al-Qaeda.

“The attack was going to be in the United States, Europe or Britain,” he said.

Kanani did not say when Abdulwahab spent his time in Mosul, the northern city that is a hive of Al-Qaeda activity. He added that Iraqi authorities were investigating information about an Egyptian militant who was training in Iraq at the same time.

In Abdulwahab’s purported will, posted on an Islamist website shortly after his December attack, he said the Al-Qaeda front group in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, “has fulfilled what it promised you.”

The late chief of the self-proclaimed ISI, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, had called in an audio message in September 2007 for reprisals in Sweden for the cartoons of Islam’s prophet Mohammed by Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.

Baghdadi also offered cash for killing the cartoonist and named Swedish companies like Ericsson, Ikea and Volvo as potential targets to harm Sweden’s economy.

Abdulwahab became a Swedish citizen in 1992 after his family fled Iraq. He staged the attack on the eve of his 29th birthday.

SECURITY

Lund professor freed student from Islamic State war zone

A chemistry professor at Lund University dispatched a team of mercenaries into an Islamic State (also known as IS, Isis or Daesh) war zone to free one of her doctoral students and his family.

Lund professor freed student from Islamic State war zone
Kurdish pershmerga fighters during the battle to retake the Yazidi homeland Mount Sinjar in 2015. File photo: Bram Jansse/AP/TT
Charlotta Turner, professor in Analytical Chemistry, received a text message from her student Firas Jumaah in 2014 telling her to to assume he would not finish his thesis if he had not returned within a week. 
 
He and his family were, he told her, hiding out in a disused bleach factory, with the sounds of gunshots from Isis warriors roaming the town reverberating around them. Jumaah, who is from Iraq, is a member of the ethno-religious group Yazidi hated by Isis. 
 
“I had no hope then at all,” Jumaah told Lund's University Magazine LUM. “I was desperate. I just wanted to tell my supervisor what was happening. I had no idea that a professor would be able to do anything for us.” 
 
Jumaah had voluntarily entered the war zone after his wife had rung him to say that Isis fighters had taken over the next-door village, killing all the men and taking the women into slavery.
 
“My wife was totally panicking. Everyone was shocked at how IS were behaving,” he said. “I took the first plane there to be with them. What sort of life would I have if anything had happened to them there?”
 
But Turner was not willing to leave her student to die without trying to do something. 
 
“What was happening was completely unacceptable,” she told LUM. “I got so angry that IS was pushing itself into our world, exposing my doctoral student and his family to this, and disrupting the research.” 
 
She contacted the university's then security chief Per Gustafson.  
 
“It was almost as if he'd been waiting for this kind of mission,” Turner said. “Per Gustafson said that we had a transport and security deal which stretched over the whole world.” 
 
Over a few days of intense activity, Gustafson hired a security company which then arranged the rescue operation. 
 
A few days later two Landcruisers carrying four heavily-armed mercenaries roared into the area where Jumaah was hiding, and sped him away to Erbil Airport together with his wife and two small children. 
 
“I have never felt so privileged, so VIP,” Jumaah told LUM. “But at the same time I felt like a coward as I left my mother and sisters behind me.” 
 
Firas Jumaah and his former PHD supervisor Charlotta Turner. Photo: Kennet Ruona
 
Luckily the rest of his family survived Isis occupation, while Jumaah back in Sweden completed his PhD and now works for a pharmaceuticals company in Malmö. The family has almost finished paying the university back for the rescue operation.
 
“It was a unique event. As far as I know no other university has ever been involved in anything like it,” Gustafson said. 
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