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I Keep an Axe in My Living Room - Vilks

Published tisdag 9 mars 2010 kl 19.46
Lars Vilks at his home on Tuesday

Threatened Swedish artist Lars Vilks says he's not exactly "shaking with fear" despite the news from Ireland that police there on Tuesday arrested seven people for allegedly plotting to kill the Swede for his drawing three years ago which depicted the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog.

The 63 year old told the Swedish media that he had been prepared to meet any threat since a 100 000 dollar bounty was put on his head by a group in Iraq linked to al-Qaida.

 "I have prepared in different ways and I have an axe here in case someone should manage to get in through the window," Vilks said.

Vilks said he had received threatening phone calls from Somalia at the beginning of the year and that the Swedish security police, Säpo, had since warned him there was a heightened threat level against him.

"But I didn't think it was that serious," he told TT.

Säpo spokesperson Mattias Lindholm told AFP news  that the agency was informed about the international operation leading up to Tuesday's arrests.

"We have cooperated ... Right now we are in continuous touch with the authorities involved, including our Irish counterparts," he said but refused to comment on the threats against Vilks or on Säpo's actions to protect him.

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