More information has come in since then: we now know that the would-be terrorists are said to be connected with the Somali jihad group al-Shabaab. The names of the suspects have been released, and the case has a Mohammed Coefficient of 100%, which is very rare in a group this large.
It also seems that this is the latest episode of Modoggie Madness in Sweden — Lars Vilks was rumored to be attending an event at the art gallery where the planned attack was to take place.
Our Swedish correspondent Freedom Fighter sends this update on the terror arrests:
The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet is reporting that:Lars Vilks, who was earlier a target of Islamic terror groups, had written in his blog that he was going to be at the art show at the “Röda Sten”.
The newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reports that “all four detained are young men 23 to 26 years old and live in Gothenburg.” It also says that Wilhelm Agrell, a professor in intelligence analysis, says he can’t understand why there is so much secrecy.
When there is total secrecy in Sweden, it usually means that Muslims are involved.
Realisten has a report in English (hat tip ME):
Muslims arrested for preparing to commit acts of terrorism in Gothenburg
The night before September 11 four men were arrested at the Central Station in Gothenburg , the second largest city of Sweden, suspected of preparing criminal terrorist activity. At the same time the police sealed off the area around the Älvsborg bridge, the Röda Sten art exhibition hall, and the Swedish Transport Agency. Between 300 and 400 people were also evacuated from the inauguration of the Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art.
The four were arrested on Sunday on suspicion of conspiring to commit terrorist acts. The four are 26-year-old Abdi Mahamud, 25-year-old Abdi Mohamud, 23-year-old Salar Mahmood and 24-year-old Mohamud Kulan.
Abdi Mahamud was born in Somalia and moved to Sweden on October 26, 1999.
Abdi Mohamud was born in Somalia and came to Sweden on December 30, 1991. He moved from Sweden October 26, 2007, and returned on January 9, 2008. He then moved again from Sweden August 18, 2008 and returned on June 12, 2009. He is a citizen of Great Britain and was sentenced on January 13, 2009, for assault to probation and fines.
Salar Mahmood was born in Iraq and came to Sweden on October 24, 1996.
Mohamud Kulan was born in Somalia and came to Sweden on March 19, 1993.
There is also an English-language report at The Local:
Sweden terror suspects tied to Islamists: report
The four terrorist suspects held in Gothenburg on Sunday have ties to the Somali Islamist movement al-Shabaab and were plotting an attack using bombs and firearms, according to a Swedish media report.
Neither Sweden’s Security Service (Säpo) nor the police have confirmed the report, and have released few details about the arrests.
“Police suspect the men were about to carry out a terrorist attack with firearms and bombs,” Gothenburg regional daily GT said in its online edition.
“Police sources have told GT the suspects are linked to the terror network al-Shabaab,” the paper said, without disclosing its sources.
According to the TT news agency, the four suspects are all male between the ages of 23- and 26-years-old and are residents of Gothenburg.
Three of the men are born in Africa and the fourth in the Middle East, it said. The man born in the Middle East and two of the Africa-born men are Swedish citizens while another holds a Swedish residency permit, it added.
Swedish intelligence agency Säpo issued a short statement on Monday saying all information concerning the ongoing investigation was classified.
“Säpo’s assessment is that there is no cause for widespread concern nor any reason to introduce tighter security measures,” it said.
An elite counter-terrorism unit and police arrested four people in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second city, and evacuated hundreds of people from a building in the city hosting an art fair “after concluding that there was a threat that could endanger lives or health or cause serious damage,” officials said Sunday.
Police then searched the building thoroughly, breaking open seven lockers, the paper said.
It is not known why the venue was seen as a target, and art fair organisers have not been given an explanation, GT said.
The paper speculated that a Swedish artist who has received death threats from al-Shabaab for depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog had planned to attend the event but did not in the end.
“I will myself with great interest attend the event,” Vilks wrote on his blog last week.
In an interview with the local Göteborgs-Posten daily he explained that he never intended to attend Saturday’s inauguration, but didn’t rule out that he was perhaps the intended target.
“If it is Islamists, which it seems to be, nothing is impossible,” he said.
Lars Vilks has faced numerous death threats and a suspected assassination plot since his drawing of the Muslim prophet with the body of a dog was first published by a Swedish regional newspaper in 2007, illustrating an editorial on the importance of freedom of expression.
Gothenburg city officials and others have criticised Säpo for neglecting to inform the city about the planned raid, and for being so tight-lipped following the arrests.
“We would have liked to have gotten the information directly from Säpo, and not through the media,” city director Åke Jacobsson told the TT news agency.
Officials from Gothenburg and Säpo met on Monday morning to discuss the threats and ensuing arrests.
But Säpo was still refusing to offer any further details other than that four people were arrested in Gothenburg on Saturday evening.
“I can’t go into any other details because of the confidentiality of the preliminary investigation,” Säpo spokesperson Michael Gunnarsson told TT.
Prosecutor Agnetha Hilding Qvarnström also refused to shed any light on the case.
Wilhelm Agrell, a professor on intelligence analysis, also made note of what he called a “total [media] blackout” on the part of Säpo regarding the case.
“Even if we’ve had blackouts in other terrorist cases, this one seems to go very far,” he said.
“Terror investigations can be very sensitive. You want to avoid every detail that can have a negative effect on the investigation and it can be hard to know ahead of time what sort of information has that character,” Agrell told TT.
Al-Shabaab is an al-Qaeda-linked militia has waged a years-long insurgency against Somalia’s weak, western-backed transitional government and controls much of the south and centre of the Horn of Africa country.
“Wherever you are, if not today or tomorrow, know that we haven’t yet forgotten about you,” a Swedish al-Shabaab member, Abu Zaid, said in a video, according to US monitoring group SITE.
For previous posts on Lars Vilks and the Roundabout Dogs, see the Modoggie Archives.