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Was Brussels terror suspect radicalized in Sweden?

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Was Brussels terror suspect radicalized in Sweden?
The former Stockholm resident was shot dead in a police raid in Brussels. Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP
08:52 CET+01:00
A former Stockholm resident suspected of involvement in the recent terror attacks in Paris and Brussels also had links with an extreme Islamist network in the Scandinavian country, SVT's Uppdrag granskning program reports.

Mohamed Belkaid was killed during a police raid in Brussels on March 15th. Belgian investigators believe he played a role in the November 13th, 2015 massacres in Paris, as well as organizing the subsequent attack in Brussels, though he was killed before the bombings in the Belgian capital took place.

The Algerian lived in Sweden between 2009 and 2013. In 2014, he travelled to Syria and signed up for Isis suicide missions, according to leaked records of people who signed up to the terrorist organization between 2013 and 2014 which Uppdrag granskning examined.

It was not previously known how his involvement with Isis started, but the SVT program now reports that Belkaid was likely radicalized in Sweden, as he and other Isis recruits lived or were registered as living at the same apartment as a suspected jihadist recruiter and financier.

Belkaid worked at one of the man's stores in Stockholm and attended the same mosque, which the man was eventually thrown out of because of his extreme views.

The men who planned to attack the Jyllandsposten newspaper in Copenhagen in 2010 are also said to have been in the same man's network. Economic crime police even found cash in envelopes labelled with the name of an Al-Qaeda leader in his apartment in 2006.

The man is still free, and Sweden's security police (Säpo) would no comment to Uppdrag granskning whether there is an interest in him, but insisted they are doing everything possible to tackle terrorism.

“If it was possible to explain this in detail – something that has been particularly difficult – I'm quite sure most people would understand,” Säpo spokesperson Anders Kassman said.

The alleged recruiter is currently registered as “missing” on Sweden's population register.

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