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Asylum stabber attacked senior Swedish minister

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Asylum stabber attacked senior Swedish minister
Swedish Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
08:00 CEST+02:00
A 25-year-old Palestinian who stabbed a police officer at an asylum centre in Denmark this week is the same man who attacked a Swedish minister earlier in the year, Danish officials have said.

Sweden's Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson, was uninjured in the attack in March this year, which took place as he visited a housing project for refugees in southern Sweden.

He was leaving the building when a man grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed foam over the minister, regional newspaper Kristianstadsbladet reported at the time.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) said in a press release on Wednesday that the Palestinian was the same man who is currently accused of stabbing and seriously wounding a police officer at Sandholm asylum centre in Denmark, on Tuesday.

PET said that it had been warned about the man’s mental health and potential loyalty to the terror group Isis, alternately known as ISIL, Daesh or the Islamic State.

“PET received information from other Danish authorities that the suspect may be psychologically unstable, have a wish to travel to Syria or Iraq, that the person in question might have been radicalized and symphathize with ISIL and that the person in question had said that he previously attacked a Swedish minister in Sweden,” an agency statement read.

Danish broadcaster TV2 reported that the Swedish incident in question was the March attack on Johansson at the refugee housing project in Broby, near Kristianstad in southern Sweden.

The PET statement did not mention the Swedish minister by name, but Swedish authorities confirmed that the suspect in the Sandholm stabbing was the same person involved in the attack on Johansson.

“Yes, it's the same person. I can confirm that information,” Fredrik Milder, press secretary for the Swedish security police, Säpo, told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet on Wednesday and added that the agency had been in contact with its Danish counterpart.

PET also said that the suspect had previously been cited for threatening a police officer.

In Tuesday’s attack at Sandholm a 56-year-old officer with the North Zealand Police was left seriously injured after being stabbed three times. 

The suspect’s asylum application had been rejected by Danish authorities and he was scheduled to be deported. He had been held at Udrejsecenter Sjælsmark, a centre for rejected asylum seekers, since July. The centre is operated by the Danish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalforsorgen) and is located just a few kilometres from Sandholm, where the attack took place. 

The centre is Denmark's largest institution for asylum seekers and currently houses around 600 people. The former military barracks lie around 20 kilometres (12 miles) northwest of Copenhagen.

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