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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

Swedish police arrest man said to be preparing attacks

The man had 'international links' but police would not say to where

Police officers guard at the site where a man killed three after driving a van into a crowd in Stockholm on April 8, 2017(AFP)
Police officers guard at the site where a man killed three after driving a van into a crowd in Stockholm on April 8, 2017(AFP)

Swedish security services have arrested a man on Thursday suspected of preparing a terrorist attack.

The SAPO agency said the unidentified man had international links, though it is unclear where, and was arrested in western Sweden after a “intensive and comprehensive intelligence work.” It added that "preparations for the suspected terrorist offense have been underway for some time.”

A number of other people were taken in for questioning after several raids on Thursday morning in the region. Police said they could not comment on the international links to the arrest, citing pre-trial confidentially.

They said there was no connection to the Strasbourg attack in France, where a gunman opened fire at a Christmas market killing three, leaving another brain dead and 12 injured. Cherif Chekatt, 29, remains on the run and hundreds of French and German police are engaged in a manhunt for the described as a radical Islamist, and highly dangerous.

Swedish authorities said they were not in a position to comment whether the arrests involved supposed Islamist extremists or if they were motivated by other forms of terrorism according to Stockholm-based Aftonbladet newspaper.

After two attacks in eight years Sweden current terror threat is at ‘elevated’ or the third level of five, meaning an attack could happen. It is not expected Thursday’s incident will change this.

At this time there is no link to the Yemen peace talks, which is into its final day, that are being hosted 50 kilometres north of Stockholm.

In a currently unrelated incident police in the city of Gothenburg, also in western Sweden, evacuated a residential building when someone found a bag with a hand grenade inside on Thursday.

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In April 2017 an Uzbek man murdered five and wounded another 14 when he drove a van into a Stockholm crowd.

In December 2010 a suicide bomber also targeted Christmas revellers and shoppers, injuring two.

Updated: December 13, 2018 05:35 PM

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