Bomber 'stormed out' of UK mosque

Kim Sengupta,Chris Corbishley
Tuesday 14 December 2010 01:00 GMT

Sweden's first suicide bomber carried three bombs, one of which may have detonated by accident when he stumbled en route to his probable target, a crowded railway station.

Prosecutors in Stockholm disclosed details of what they described as Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly's plan of attack as it emerged that the 28-year-old Iraqi, who had lived in Luton for the past decade, had sent a series of emails declaring jihad due to the presence of Swedish troops in Afghanistan and cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed drawn by a Swedish cartoonist.

A Swedish news agency released an audio recording apparently made by Abdaly, in which he said oppression against Islam in Europe would not be tolerated and that his actions would speak for themselves.

Security sources said no evidence has emerged that Abdaly was representing a large group. However, he made several trips to the Middle East and South Asia, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

These are being investigated to ascertain whether he had terrorist connections in those places. Three years ago the chief of the self-proclaimed Islamic state of Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, called for reprisals against Sweden over cartoons by Lars Vilks.

In Stockholm, the prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand, said: "It isn't a too daring guess to say he was on his way to a place where there were as many people as possible, maybe the central station."

The chairman of the Islamic Centre at his hometown in Luton said that he had in fact "challenged" Abdaly's extreme views before he "stormed out" amid criticism from the centre's members. He said "there must have been something" in between that time and the Stockholm terrorist attack on Saturday that influenced him.

Mr Baksh emphasised the support that was extended by the centre, saying that when members of the Islamic community begin to express extremist ideas "it's a matter of challenging their theological basis, and making them realise this is not the Islamic point of view, and is not the way we look at the situation of Muslims around the world." He admitted that "in hindsight, maybe I should have spent a bit more time with that person".

Despite the local MP Gavin Shuker emphasising the "good community cohesion" in Luton and that "mosques in Luton have a strong track record of denouncing terror", a WikiLeaks cable revealed last night a critical verdict on UK attempts to engage with Muslim communities. Despite investing "considerable time and resources" after the July 7 bombings, US diplomats commented, the UK "had made little progress".

Abdaly's alienation from the local community may have led him to turn to jihadist internet forums such as Shumukh al-Islam, the site which first identified him as the bomber, where he seemed to appear from beyond the grave last night when a copy of his last written statement was published. Written in Arabic, it is a rallying call to other Muslims to launch further attacks in Europe and Sweden.

Evan Koyhlmann, a security analyst at Flashpoint Global Partners, said a user who had posted Abdaly's photography on the forum suggested he was carrying out the will of the "Islamic state of Iraq" in carrying out the attack.

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