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Uzbekistan Says Had Warned West About Stockholm Attack Suspect

Rakhmat Akilov, the suspected assailant in the Stockholm attack
Rakhmat Akilov, the suspected assailant in the Stockholm attack

Uzbekistan says its security services passed information on Rakhmat Akilov, the man accused of ramming a truck into a crowd of people in Stockholm last week, to the West before the deadly attack.

Akilov, a 39-year-old Uzbek national, is in custody on suspicion of mowing down a crowd on a busy street in the Swedish city. The attack killed four people.

Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said on April 14 that Akilov had been recruited by the Islamic State (IS) militant group after he left Uzbekistan in 2014 and settled in Sweden.

"According to the information in our possession, he actively urged his compatriots to travel to Syria to fight on Islamic State's side," Kamilov told journalists, 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," Kamilov said, without identifying the intermediary country or organization.

An unnamed Uzbek security source said this week that Akilov had attempted to reach Syria in 2015 to join IS but was detained at the Turkish-Syrian border and deported back to Sweden.

The source said Uzbek authorities in February had put him on a wanted list for people suspected of religious extremism.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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