Trio charged with planning terror attack in Sweden

Sweden's flag is seen near the Stockholm Cathedral in the Old Town district of Stockholm, Sweden. PHOTO: REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Sweden's prosecution authority said on Thursday (Dec 27) it had charged three men with planning a terror attack in Sweden, warning the plot could have caused serious damage had it not been prevented.

The three are suspected of "obtaining and storing large amounts of chemicals and other equipment with the aim of killing and wounding other people," the prosecution authority said in a statement.

"If the terrorist crime had been carried out, it could have seriously hurt Sweden."

The trio were also charged, along with three other people, with financing terrorism. Prosecutors accuse them of sending money abroad to fund the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria's operations.

All six have denied the charges against them.

The trial is expected to open on Jan 7.

The men, aged between 30 and 46, originally hail from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, according to Swedish paper of reference Dagens Nyheter.

Their residency status in Sweden could not immediately be verified.

Five of the six have been in custody since a police raid in Stromsund, 600km north of Stockholm, in late April.

The sixth man is not in custody.

During the April raid, neighbours told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper they saw police removing about 15 large plastic containers from a shed on an empty property.

According to Dagens Nyheter, at least one of the suspects had been in contact with Rakhmat Akilov, a radicalised Uzbek asylum seeker who mowed down pedestrians in Stockholm with a stolen truck in April 2017, killing five people.

Akilov was sentenced to life in prison in June 2018.

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