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Uzbek Security Forces Warned West about Stockholm Attack Suspect - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Uzbekistan announced on Friday that it had relayed information on suspect held in the Stockholm truck ramming incident that left four people dead last week.

Uzbekistan’s security services passed information on Rakhmat Akilov to the West before the deadly attack, Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said on Friday.

Kamilov told reporters Akilov had been recruited by the ISIS militant group after he left the Central Asian nation in 2014 and settled in Sweden.

“According to the information that we have, he actively urged his compatriots to travel to Syria in order to fight on ISIS’ side,” Kamilov said, adding that Akilov had used online messaging services.

“Earlier (before the attack), information on Akilov’s criminal actions had been passed by security services to one of our Western partners so that the Swedish side could be informed,” he said without identifying the intermediary country or organization.

An Uzbek security source said this week that Akilov had tried to travel to Syria himself in 2015 to join ISIS, but was detained at the Turkish-Syrian border and deported back to Sweden.

The source added that in February this year Uzbekistan’s authorities had put him on a wanted list for people suspected of religious extremism.

Meanwhile, an 11-year-old girl has been identified as one of the four people killed in last week’s attack, her parents said.

Sweden’s TV4 said Tuesday evening that the parents released a statement saying they wanted to thank “the Swedish people for all the warmth and love you have given us at a time of despair and pain.” They requested “peace and quiet” to grieve the death of their daughter, Ebba Akerlund.

Other victims of Friday’s attack included a 31-year-old Belgian woman, a 69-year-old Swedish woman, and a 41-year-old Briton whom the British government identified as Chris Bevington, an executive at Swedish music-streaming service Spotify. Fifteen others were injured in the attack, with eight still hospitalized.

On Tuesday, the Stockholm District Court ruled that police may detain Akilov for one month, but Eriksson said his client could remain jailed as long as it takes to resolve the case.

He was caught Friday evening in a northern suburb of Stockholm, hours after he drove the stolen beer truck into the crowd of afternoon shoppers outside the upmarket Ahlens store. He was formally arrested early Saturday.

Police have not disclosed a motive for the attack and no extremist group has claimed responsibility. Police chief Dan Eliasson said that after questioning the man they have become increasingly “convinced that we have the right suspect.”

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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