Stockholm attack suspect deported from Turkey in 2015 while on way to join ISIL in Syria
MOSCOWThe Uzbek national suspected of mowing down pedestrians in Stockholm on April 7 was deported from Turkey two years ago while he tried to join the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group in Syria, an Uzbek source told Russian agencies.
According to the source, the 39-year-old suspect, Rakhmat Akilov, attempted to cross Turkey’s border with Syria in 2015 but was ultimately detained by authorities.
“Given his refugee status he was deported back to Sweden,” an unnamed law enforcement source in the Central Asian state said.
Akilov “fell under the influence of emissaries of the Tajik cell of the Islamic State, making attempts to take part in combat in Syria on the side of the fighters,” the source said.
The source also added that Uzbek authorities had added Akilov to an international wanted list in late February after a criminal case on “religious extremism” was opened against him.
Akilov on April 11 confessed to a “terrorist crime” for the truck attack that killed four people and injured 15 others on April 7, his lawyer said.
He reportedly said he had received an “order” directly from ISIL to carry out the attack, according to Swedish media reports.
Akilov, a construction worker who had been refused permanent residency in Sweden, was detained several hours after the attack.
He had gone underground after his application for Swedish residency was rejected last year, police said.
Ibrahim El Bakraoui, one of the attackers in the Brussels suicide bombings last year, was also deported from the country in 2015 while attempting to cross the border into Syria.