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COPENHAGEN

Suspects planned to ‘kill as many as possible’

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.

Suspects planned to 'kill as many as possible'

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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FOOTBALL

Who will take Scandinavian bragging rights in the ‘Battle of the Öresund Bridge’?

FC Copenhagen fans have arrived in their hundreds in the Swedish city of Malmö, which is 30 minutes by train from Copenhagen. The two cities go head-to-head tonight in the UEFA Europa League.

Who will take Scandinavian bragging rights in the 'Battle of the Öresund Bridge'?
FC Copenhagen fans in Malmö. Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark's league champions FC Copenhagen (FCK in local parlance) are up against Malmö FF in the competition’s group stage, in an unusual meeting between the two geographically-close clubs.

FCK go into the match as arguable favourites, given their position as the richest club in Scandinavia and record as six-time Danish champions within the last ten years.

But the Swedish side will also fancy their chances, having won their own league, the Allsvenskan, five times in the last decade.

Danish midfielder Anders Christiansen, who crossed the Öresund to play for Malmö in 2016, said that his side were in prime position to challenge FCK for the claim of being Scandinavia’s best team.

“There has been a lot of talk about who is the biggest club in Scandinavia. If we say it’s FCK, I’d also say Malmö is right behind. And you also can’t leave out (Norwegian team) Rosenborg,” Christiansen told TV2 Sport.

Although the two cities are only around 45 kilometres apart and a train journey between them takes no more than half an hour, the Malmö-FCK match is a very rare occurrence, since each team competes in its national league.

In general, the chance for a bit of cross-Öresund (or should that be Øresund?) rivalry doesn’t come up particularly often.

In May, Malmö's Turning Torso tower retained its status as the tallest building in the Öresund region, after Copenhagen's city government rejected plans for a 280 metre tower.

That aside, bragging rights are completely up for grabs in the sporting meeting between the cities.

Thursday’s match kicks off at 9pm in the Skåne city, with the return to be played at Copenhagen’s Parken on December 12th.

READ ALSO: Tale of two cities: Copenhagen and Malmö plan international metro

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