Swedish Radio: Stockholm attack suspect had jihadi links
The man suspected of driving the truck used to carry out Friday’s terror attack in Stockholm can be linked to Islamic groups fighting in Syria via intermediaries on a Russian social media website, Swedish Radio has learned.
Swedish Radio reporters have identified a profile on the social media network which matches the known details of the Uzbek man who is now detained suspected of carrying out the attack.
One of the man’s friends on the network, who spreads religious material under an alias, is friends with dozens of supporters of violent Islamic groups such as Islamic State and the Al-Nusra Front, several of whom claim to be fighting in Syria.
Two of the sympathizers also describe themselves as coming from Sweden, one of whom is suspected of fighting in Syria at present.
Through the alias material made by a third person is spread, material advising others on how to become an Islamic martyr. This man is followed by several suspected jihadi fighters.
One of the latest posts on the 39-year-old suspect’s page is a poem about death and the afterlife, which includes reveries on the promises of God.
Many Islamists in the man’s network are supporters of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. A part of the IMU movement, which launched in the 1990s, broke with al-Qaida and the Taliban in 2015 and transferred allegiance to Islamic State.
Uzbek jihadi groups are known to use the same Russian social media website searched by Swedish Radio to recruit Central Asian migrants working in Europe to go to fight in Syria.
One of their strategies is to use intermediaries who begin by sharing general religious educational material, and then later link Jihadists with potential recruits.
Several media networks have also reported on a Telegram chat. The chat has not been verified. This report concerns another social media site.