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Suspects planned to 'kill as many as possible'

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Suspects planned to 'kill as many as possible'
17:56 CET+01:00
Four men from Sweden were formally charged in Denmark on Friday for planning a suspected terrorist attack against Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen in December 2010.

The men have been charged with one count of terror crimes and two counts of violating weapons laws.

Three of the men, Munir Awad, Omar Abdalla and Mounir Dhahri were arrested in Copenhagen on December 29th, 2010.

The men were based in Sweden and had travelled over to Denmark by car the night they were arrested.

A fourth, Sahbi Zalouti, was later apprehended by police in Sweden. He was subsequently extradited to Denmark.

The four men, all of whom resided in Sweden, are suspected of preparing what Danish security service PET called a plan to "kill as many people as possible" in an assault on the Copenhagen offices of the Jyllands-Posten daily.

Jyllands-Posten published a dozen cartoons in 2005 of the Prophet Muhammad that triggered violent and sometimes deadly protests around the world.

According to the indictment, prosecutors are seeking prison terms for all the men and calling for them to be deported from Denmark as well as slapped with travel restrictions that would prevent them from entering the country again in the future.

Danish investigators allege the planning for the attack took place at a meeting "in Stockholm in Sweden as well as in other locations".

Awad, Abdalla and Dhahri traveled from Sweden to Denmark by car during the evening of December 29th.

They then met in an apartment in the Herlev neighbourhood near the Danish capital to discuss how they would attack the newspaper.

In a joint prayer, one of the men said, "When the unfaithful are gathered, tie them up and cut their throats," according to PET.

When Danish police arrested the men, they found a machine gun in the men's rented Toyota Avensis, as well as a clip with 34 live 9-mm rounds, a silencer, and 36 additional bullets of the same caliber.

In the apartment, police found a pistol with a magazine containing 15 live rounds as well as 37 additional bullets.

Police also found and confiscated $20,000 in cash as well as plastic cable ties that could be used to bind people's hands.

A spokesperson for PET told TT on Friday the agency had no further comment on the investigation.

Swedish terror expert Magnus Ranstorp praised the efforts of PET and Swedish security service Säpo in tracking the planning of the attack as well as the men's trip to Denmark.

He speculated that Danish prosecutors have a great deal of evidence stemming from wiretaps and other electronic surveillance gathered by the Danish and Swedish intelligence agencies.

"In addition, the confiscated plastic cable ties may play a prominent role in the presentation of evidence when it comes to showing that they intended to take people prisoner," Ranstorp told TT.

The trial of the four men is expected to start in April.

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