Gothenburg resident´s terror plans against UAE embassies

An international terrorist group with Swedish involvement is said to have planned to attack missions belonging to the United Arab Emirates. The image is an archive / genre image.

A 44-year-old man living in Angered in the suburbs of Gothenburg, Sweden, is the suspected leader of an international terrorist cell aiming to attack the United Arab Emirates embassies in Ethiopia and Sudan.

A week before Christmas, two men were detained on probable cause suspected for incitement of acts of terrorism commited in Sweden and abroad with the intended completion abroad. One of them was detained shortly after he was caught at Arlanda airport on December 16. The other was arrested in Malmö by Swedish Security Police forces and detained on one of the following days. The two men have now been in custody for almost eight weeks.

The preliminary investigation is lead by the Prosecutors National Security Unit, headed by Senior Public Prosecutor Hans-Jörgen Hanström.

The prosecutor has been reluctant to disclose any information about the accusations. Nothing has been revealed on what would be the target of the attack. Nor whom would be the intended victims. Neither has anything been disclosed about what the purpose of the attack would be. Senior Public Prosecutor Hans-Jörgen Hanström told media only that the alleged crimes were committed in Sweden and abroad and that they were intended to be completed abroad. When asked in which country or continent the terrorist attack was intended to be committed, he only said that it is far away from Sweden.

Doku can now uncover what the terrorism allegations are all about. We can also disclose the target of the planned attack. Finally, we can disclose where the terrorist attacks were intended to be committed.

The Ethiopian security service recently arrested 15 people of a suspected terrorist group planning an internationally organized attack on the United Arab Emirates diplomatic missions in Ethiopia and Sudan. Some of them would attack the embassy in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and others the embassy in the Sudanese capital Khartom.

The Ethiopian group allegedly worked on behalf of foreign terrorists. The purpose was to cause significant damage to people and property. During the raid, the Ethiopian security service found large quantities of weapons, explosives and documentation. Sudan’s security services cooperated with its Ethiopian allies.

In addition to the arrest of the Ethiopian group, 21 more individuals were arrested in one or more international raids, reports New Business Ethiopia and other media.

The alleged leader of the terrorist group is a man living in Angered in Gothenburg

According to New Business Ethiopia, one of the two men arrested in December in Sweden, a man with Eritrean citizenship living in the suburbs of Gothenburg (Angered) has been identified by the Ethiopian security service NISS (National Intelligence and Security Service) as the mastermind of the terrorist group aiming to attack the United Arab Emirates. He was arrested in Sweden following an extensive exchange of information between security services in Europe, Africa and Asia.

The man, who is 44 years old, apparently lives a secluded life as a resident in an apartment in Angered in Gothenburg. It is not publicly known if he has any employment or any fixed income. However, he is registered as a board member of a newly started limited company that will import cosmetics and beauty products. It is unclear if he has any ownership interest in that company.

Nothing has been said about for how long the Angered resident and the other terrorists have planned the attacks against the United Arab Emirates. However, it is likely that the planning of the operations, the acquisition of weapons and other materials and the organization of the missions involving the arrested individuals in Ethiopia and elsewhere have been going on for a long time. In his petition for detention order to Attunda District Court on 18 December 2020, Senior Public Prosecutor Hans-Jörgen Hanström namely stated that the Angered citizen is suspected for incitement of terrorist crimes during one year, between 22 November 2019 and 1 December 2020.

The man who was arrested and detained in Malmö lives in Trelleborg in southern Sweden. He is also 44 years old. No information has been revealed about how he should have participated in the planning or execution of the attacks on the United Arab Emirates. His role though seems to have been different from the Angered resident’s. In the petition for detention order to Malmö District Court on 16 December, the prosecutor states that the man is suspected of terrorist crimes during November 2020, i.e. for a much more limited time than the allegations against the Angered resident. 

The man has been convicted on several occasions, but only for driving without a license. Doku has no information that could confirm the man’s nationality. In a court case from 2018 about support under the Social Services Act, he said himself that he had lived in Sweden for ten years and that he became a Swedish citizen in 2014. However, in one of the judgments on illegal driving from June 2018, it is stated that he is a citizen of Lebanon.

The man reportedly does not have a permanent job and he appears to be dependent on social security. In September 2020, an administrative court rejected his application for financial support because he had not provided the documentation required by the authorities.

The man’s LinkedIn page differs from how most people usually describe themselves there. He says that he has skills in advanced weapon handling and close combat with weapons.

Doku can now disclose that a third person is suspected in the matter. Two weeks ago, on January 15, the lawyer Edip Samuelsson accepted an appointment as public defender for a person whose identity the district court has classified.

The further motive for the terrorist attacks is not known, but the United Arab Emirates, which so far has chosen not to comment on the arrest of the huge number of alleged terrorists aiming to attack its embassies in Ethiopia and Sudan, is one of the countries that has played an important role in the dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea. UAE has also provided financial support to Ethiopia.

According to The Times of Israel, there may be forces based in Iran behind the planned attacks. The same sources label the arrested terrorists in Ethiopia the ”Iranian cell”.

Senior Public Prosecutor Hans-Jörgen Hanström says to Doku that it has not yet been decided when charges will be brought and that the investigation will proceed for at least several months as it is an extensive international matter.

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