Germany Detains 2 Afghans for Plotting Attack on Swedish Parliament

Police vehicles leave the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office at the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, Germany (AP)
Police vehicles leave the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office at the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, Germany (AP)
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Germany Detains 2 Afghans for Plotting Attack on Swedish Parliament

Police vehicles leave the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office at the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, Germany (AP)
Police vehicles leave the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office at the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, Germany (AP)

Germany detained on Tuesday two Afghan citizens accused of planning an attack on the Swedish parliament in response to the burning of copies of the Quran in Stockholm last summer.

The federal prosecutor’s office said two Afghan nationals identified as Ibrahim MG and Ramin N. were detained in the eastern German city of Gera on suspicion of plotting the attack.

The office said the two suspects had received orders from the ISIS Khorasan Province, adding that they “researched the local conditions around the possible crime scene on the internet.”

According to prosecutors, the “concrete” plans, which involved both accused co-conspirators, included a firearms attack on police officers and others “in the vicinity of the Swedish parliament in Stockholm.”

The two detainees repeatedly tried to obtain weapons, albeit unsuccessfully, the prosecutor's office said.

The German prosecution accused one of the two men of belonging to ISIS Khorasan Province branch, while it said that the second man supports the terrorist organization.

The two had raised 2,000 euros in donations for ISIS to help a member jailed in northern Syria, it added.

German security intelligence consider the ISIS Khorasan group as posing a significant threat to its national security and to other European countries as well.

Sweden was rocked by a series of Quran burnings last year. The burnings, which are protected by Sweden's far-reaching freedom of speech laws, sparked outrage across much of the Muslim community and led to violent clashes.

Britain and US had issued a travel advice to their citizens when traveling to Sweden about the risk of terrorist attacks. Also, the Swedish embassy in Baghdad had been stormed and vandalized in response to the Quran burnings.

In October, a gunman killed two Swedish soccer fans before a match in Brussels.

Swedish authorities had raised the terror alert to its second-highest level in August.

Most European countries have also raised the level of terrorist threats since the beginning of the war in Gaza.

In Germany, the police arrested three people over an alleged attack plot targeting the cathedral in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

The three suspects are believed to be linked to a Tajik, who allegedly wanted to carry out attacks for ISIS Khorasan.
The “alleged means of attack” is a car, had said police in the western city. Security measures have been stepped up around the site for several days.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.